Colleague Wojtek Jarząbek is one of the most distinctive and recognizable personalities on the architectural market. He has unquestionable achievements and accomplishments. He has his style and character. He has created a few objects which – although evoke today a lot of emotions – at the time of their creation they were expressing important ideological declarations. They were important achievements on the map of Wrocław’s architecture development. One of the first great works is certainly SOLPOL - one of the first projects implemented in the "new" socio-economic reality. Other objects - constructed earlier and later - also cannot be passed by without noticing.
From the beginning of his career, Wojciech Jarząbek was recognizable. His rich styling and a more formal approach to architecture evokes emotions even today. There are both: strong supporters of his approach as well as people denying not the artist himself but his style. Once I would say "postmodern". But is it right? Is it possible to classify easily Wojciech Jarząbek’s creative attitude with one epithet that today rather doesn’t bring splendor? It would involve limiting his creative approach and a regression to the time when postmodernism was an "antidote" to the universality of modernism. He tried to make it more local and give it a more "human" face.
As the Laureate explained in numerous statements his attitude is more of the painters’ one - rich in meaning and content – just as the buildings, but not only, once were.
The ease with which he used to express his thoughts is admirable. At the time where there were no computers and when drawing perspectives was as important as designing, his drawing skills were phenomenal. As a student I remember thesis projects of Wojtek Jarząbek and Wacek Hryniewicz (later co-creator of many joint creations) that hung in the "pavilion" and evoked sincere admiration for younger colleagues. The richness of his expression already had its concrete dimension. Then there was a prospect of "Kamienny Szaniec" - a hotel and recreational complex in Kołobrzeg by Stefan Muller or drawings for Terra 2.
After a period of "apprenticeship" in the Inwestprojekt office he went for next few years to Kuwait. There he had a chance to develop his skills in a completely different reality. On one hand, more real than ours in those days - with real investors and real construction market, but on the other in a completely non-European environment. Most probably this period left its mark on the later professional development of our Laureate. The influence of rich Arab architecture is strongly visible in another important realization - the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace, especially in its interior’s project based on different principles which could be associated with the Arab approach. Of course, it was a contest, which resulted in a very coherent project with an architectural detail and a high quality interior. Investor’s role in such cases cannot be underestimated. Ability to implement the proposed solutions is such a rare quality existing in a "natural form in nature", yet so important.
At the same time he cooperated with other colleagues – taking part in architectural competitions and winning - as in the case of Herbarium building of Museum of Natural History at the University of Wrocław. It was his joint project with Paweł Spychała: a simple cubic construction standing alone on Sienkiewicza St. Although the project’s principles met the rules of the competition, this time neither the investor nor the municipal authorities were able to see its unique value and each of them tried to "civilize” it by imposing modifications: the stone and the roof from the side of the Cathedral -as at this point one cannot allow for desecration of the Cathedral Island. This is how together "important and responsible people" issued a judgment. And today we blame the architect for the roof, the rock and whatever else.
The next step in developing his own style -very expressive and so specific that it's hard to go confuse it with achievements of other architects – is the infill tenement on 36 Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego St. in Wrocław. In a sense it’s a quintessence of style and character – a project where the author expressed most fully his credo. Subsequent developments, especially in the field of housing are not as expressive and rich. In this realization he fully responded to the rich styling of bourgeois tenements, not only along Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego St. The Art Deco Wrocław’s period was equally rich, and "predatory". Perhaps some of its characteristics such as floral as well as human features are easier to accept because we simply treat them as part of Wrocław’s history whereas new achievements of such “predatory” style raise great emotions. Today though the emotions are not that intense anymore.- we have got used to the styling, the colors have "faded" and so they’re not as intense as before.
Wojtek Jarząbek’s achievements were and are very recognizable. They have been awarded prizes for the best projects during numerous architectural competitions and contests organized not only in Wrocław. His achievements have been also presented in literature related specifically to the postmodern architecture as important representatives of this style in architecture. Regardless of personal beliefs of Wojtek Jarząbek.
Like many well-known architects our Laureate has gone through different periods. The earlier one related to the Nowy Dwór project or the latest realization related to the Wrocław’s Technology Park or, before, the Millennium Tower office buildings. Personally, I would risk the thesis that the latter one is a synthesis of his work – especially that of recent years. I believe it express his own thoughts in the most comprehensive way. The offices are designed with a balance between formalism of the structure, styling of material solutions and details emphasizing the objects’ functionality.
The achievements that led to the decision to award Wojtek Jarząbek with the Honorary Prize of SARP Wrocław Branch - the achievements that have influenced the architecture of Wrocław, enabling some to express their own creative ideas and providing others with an opportunity to speak using a different style. It’s because Wojciech Jarząbek’s architecture evokes emotions. We may disagree with many of his theses and projects but we should not underestimate such coherent and compact achievements which are located in many places in Wrocław and have enriched the whole city.
Such acquis is worth to be granted the Honorary Award of the Association of Polish Architects Wrocław Branch.
President of SARP Wrocław
President of the Honorary Award Jury SARP Wrocław Branch
arch. Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak
arch. Maciej Hawrylak
arch. Zbigniew Maćków
arch. Stefan Müller
arch. Jerzy Tarnawski
arch. Tadeusz Zipser