Should Poland Preserve Its Communist Relics?

Many of Poland's older, iconic Communist buildings require major renovations and are seen as unwelcome reminders of a bygone time. But many people see them as historic landmarks that merit preservation.
December 29, 2013, 5am PST | Alek Miller
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As the buildings of the 1960s and 1970s begin to demand more and costly repairs, Poles are questioning whether to invest in preservation or to demolish them and move on. Several of the country's notable Communist buildings have been the centerpieces of heated public debates about their worth, with varying measures of support. 

"The latest love-it-or-loath-it confrontation is being played over the future of the bus station in the central town of Kielce. Looking like a UFO from a 1950s B-movie, the bus station, even its detractors concede, is eye catching, but this may not be enough to save it. Allowed to fall into a state of disrepair and neglect over the years, its owners, the PKS bus company, has said it won’t invest any money in a renovation, and that the structure may collapse," writes M.D. in The Economist.

"This has riled [architect and preservationist Jakub] Szczesny and he fears another piece of Poland’s architectural heritage will disappear. 'It's a beautiful and poetic building, and if there’s a will to make something of it, to renovate it and renew it, then it can be saved,' he stresses. 'But if there isn't, then the city ends up losing part of its culture and heritage.'"

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Published on Thursday, December 19, 2013 in The Economist
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