Atrium European Real Estate, the owner of Wars Sawa Junior buildings and operator of Pasaż Wiecha, has appointed award-winning architectural design and engineering firm Foster + Partners to look into this Warsaw’s central location. The practice experienced in large scale urban regeneration projects is to conceptualize the possible directions of use of this emblematic scheme, that would facilitate upgrading it into a future-proof part of the multifunctional city centre. The partnership demonstrates a 2030+ vision to responsibly realign the public realm with the New Center of Warsaw municipal masterplan and form meaningful pedestrian connections with the anticipated Museum of Modern Art and Plac Centralny, Chmielna street and tourists city walk toward Nowy Świat and Old Town.
Wars Sawa Junior has long been a popular shopping destination for Warsaw residents and tourists alike. Its unrivalled location between two metro stations and the city’s main transport interchange remains desirable among major retail brands. Ever since becoming the owner of Wars Sawa Junior, Atrium has been exploring the immense potential of this place and the shifting needs of its users, whilst also taking a close look at changes implemented in the Warsaw downtown. Simultaneously, Wars Sawa Junior has been already enriched with several new retailers as well as social activities on Pasaż Wiecha adding life to this iconic space.
“We are committed to taking long-term care of Wars Sawa Junior and Pasaż Wiecha and motivated to improve them to better adapt to the new reality and evolving habits. We also wish for them to complement the municipal plans by prioritizing pedestrians, friendly green streetscape, and better connectivity with new places of interest. It is time to think ahead about potential changes that would make that possible. That is why we decided to bring on board experienced architects and urban planners to ensure that our buildings and their surroundings serve the residents and visitors for decades to come,” said Graham Kilbane, Group Chief Development Officer, Atrium European Real Estate.
Foster + Partners have given a new life to significant historic and centrally located structures around the world broadened their potential, attracted new users and created lively public spaces. Apart from talented architects, their team also consists of urban planners, anthropologists, sociologists, landscape architects and sustainability experts. Their diverse mix of skills makes it easier to create inclusive places that help animate urban life, socialize, and integrate different generations and lifestyles. Some of the reference projects include the pedestrianized Trafalgar Square, the courtyard at the British Museum in London and the regeneration of the Old Port of Marseilles.
Chris Bubb, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners, said: “Our work at Wars Sawa Junior in Warsaw is a continuation of our long history of working with the urban realm and the city fabric, in this case, working with the city’s strategy of reinvigoration and enhancement of public space. Through local stakeholder consultation and historical research, we look to reveal the changing nature of the city centre and inform a vibrant future for Wars Sawa Junior and Pasaż Wiecha.”
Starting at the beginning of this year Foster + Partners have been analyzing the Wars Sawa Junior site’s historical, cultural and social context in detail to draw on the best solutions. To gain valuable insights they are also engaged in dialogue with a wide group of stakeholders including local authorities, opinion leaders, inclusivity experts, city-centric NGOs, and neighbours. To benefit the wider community their feedback and aspirations will then be taken into account in the proposed initial concepts. The design team plans to present a range of preliminary ideas later in 2022 and share the vision of possible evolution with the public for further debate that will determine the next steps.
“We realize the cultural and historical value this place represents and are aware of the complexity it requires reconciling the interests of many parties. The practice team includes both foreign and Polish professionals, whose know-how guarantees their design work in Warsaw is rooted in a sense of place and local needs are understood well. We are ready to attune to voiced recommendations and work together to drive positive change in this part of downtown Warsaw,” added Graham Kilbane.