the gates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

August 20, 2013

It’s been some time since the installation of new gates to the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Old gates were scarier than entering Krakow from the direction of Warsaw. There was not one ounce of finesse and even the slightest reference to the period during which the building was built. And in addition they were a socialist botched-up work.

The building on 23 Szucha in Warsaw is an object of high architectural value. It was built between 1929-1938 for the Supreme Chamber of State Control (NIKP), a government institution established in 1919. Five designs were awarded in the competition for the NIKP building in July 1929. The first prize was awarded to architect Zdzisław Mączyński, however, one of the two design awarded with the 3rd prize was built: by Stefan Colonn-Walewski, along with his associate architect T. Leśniewski. The building located in a compact development in the street frontage is made up of the front of the building, an outbuilding which is perpendicular to it and two outbuildings parallel to the front of the building, forming two semi-open courtyards. The entrance to the courtyards is via two gates located in the extreme bays of the front building. It’s these gates that were the subject of our project. We tried to give them the climate of the 30s using the materials, the form and the details. We were also inspired by the simple and delicate Art Deco geometry. The structure of the gates is based on galvanized steel sections painted in graphite (60×60, 60×40). Brass elements, enhancing the shape of the fronts, are made of 10×10 bars, plates in place of door handles and the national emblem (cast brass) highlighted by being wrapped by bars with a diameter of 4-5mm. All brass parts were finely patinated. We also used patina to cover the embossed plate on the bottom of the gates. We used turned hinges with grease nipples and bearing balls. The centre of the fronts was filled with tempered glass. It was supposed to be ornamented (Chinchilla), but is transparent. The gates as well as the lanterns inside the gates were designed by Szymon Tarnowski, M.A., architect Marcin Tryc and architect Agnieszka Kuratczyk MSc.