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The Things of Warsaw / Room of Architectural Drawings

Rysunek Zygmunta Stępińskiego wykonany tuszem na kalce, przedstawiający południową elewację pawilonu handlowego Cepelii, MHW 7351_Pl

Drawing of the southern facade of the Cepelia commercial pavilion

Zygmunt Stępiński (1908–1982), in collaboration with Andrzej Milewski (c. 1921–1975), designed the prestigious commercial pavilion of the Centre for Folk and Artistic Industry (CPLiA, commonly referred to as Cepelia).

The building was raised in 1966 in the centre of Warsaw, at the crossroads of two main Warsaw thoroughfares: Marszałkowska Street and Jerozolimskie Avenues, in the immediate vicinity of the Eastern Wall. Under construction at the time, the Eastern Wall was a prestigious residential-service complex built in Warsaw under the leadership of Władysław Gomułka (1905–1982). The pavilion was devised as a large-scale vitrine.

Regardless of the current shop window display, all items stored inside could be viewed by passers-by. Such an effect could be achieved owing to a lightweight architectural form with large areas of glazing. Since 1949, Polish architecture – and any other artistic discipline for that matter – was constrained by the Socialist Realism doctrine, related to the socialist regime introduced in 1945. In 1956, Modernist architectural trends originating from Western Europe and the United States were adopted again as a result of changes caused by the political thaw. Architects discarded costly and heavy stone decorations and instead adopted the postulates of Functionalism which prioritised the building’s function over its form.

The Cepelia building clearly marks a continuation of the architectural reflection pursued after the political “thaw” (liberalisation of the socialist regime as of 1956) on the idea of the Warsaw city-centre pavilion.

Drawing of the southern facade of the Cepelia commercial pavilion
WARSAW; C. 1966
MHW 7351/PL
25,5 × 31,6 CM

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