Book in Polish
Jan Szpakowicz. Elementary Space, authors: Alexandra Czupkiewicz and Łukasz Wojciechowski, graphic design Michał Majewski, publ. Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Wrocław 2021, colour and black-and-white illustrations, cardboard binding, p. 207
The first monographic publication bringing closer the figure and work of Jan Szpakowicz - a Polish architect active mainly in the 1960s and 1970s, an artist fascinating and surprising, still unknown to a wider audience. A book containing an interview with Jan Szpakowicz and a complete catalogue of his projects - those completed and those that remained only on paper - accompanies the exhibition ‘Jan Szpakowicz. Elementary Space’, presented at the Museum of Architecture from February to September 2021.
Jan Szpakowicz is the author of many outstanding designs and realisations in the field of single- and multifamily architecture, a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, professionally associated with the Miastoprojekt-Warszawa General Building Research Bureau, the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, the Sonatiba office and the Agence Nationale d’Aménagement du Territoire (Algeria), and since 1992, a permanent resident of Millas, France.
The authors of the publication - Aleksandra Czupkiewicz and Łukasz Wojciechowski - devoted most space to the analysis of three single-family houses in Zalesie Dolne, which constituted a specific credo of the architect. This small colony near Warsaw has escaped the history of architecture, which focuses on Great and Important projects. Tucked away in a pine forest, it waited to be discovered. It consists of some of the most unusual buildings in this part of Europe. Although each of them was different and constituted a separate experiment, they were united by the unusual way in which they shaped the space. The almost monolithic volumes of the rooms were surrounded by completely open zones, the interior blended with the surroundings, the darkness with the light of day. Born from a creative combination of mathematical rigour and fascination with Japanese culture and European avant-garde architecture, they became a complex for which it is difficult to find analogies.
The book also contains designs and sketches of other surprising concepts by Jan Szpakowicz, such as the Waszyngtona Estate (Warsaw, 1962), Stegny (Warsaw, 1973), Natolin Wyżyny (Warsaw, 1978), Moczydło (Warsaw, 1980), the Special School in Legionowo (1989), and those realised abroad: Ain Benian and Tijarat (Algeria, 1982), or the housing estate in Giberville (France, 1994).
Using a mathematically restrictive form, Jan Szpakowicz’s architecture relates directly to human activity - rest and movement, rest and work, social activity and the need for solitude, subjecting itself entirely to the perception of the user. Repetitive elements create open systems that allow for their alternation and adjustment to temporary usage scenarios, and the search for modular order ensures the possibility of unlimited, although controlled, growth of the designed structures.