Housing Estate of Warsaw Housing Cooperative in Rakowiec

Helena and Szymon Syrkus

For living

Housing Estate of Warsaw Housing Cooperative in Rakowiec

Pruszkowska and Wiślicka streets, Warsaw

The WSM housing estate in Rakowiec grew out of criticism of the housing situation of the 1920s. Founded by left-wing activists with origins in worker cooperatives, the WSM invited avant-garde architects from Praesens to develop the project. Szymon and Helena Syrkus first presented the concept of the estate in 1930 at the Third International Congress of Modern Architecture CIAM in Brussels. A year later in Berlin, Walter Gropius, a leading representative of the international style, said: “completing the construction of the estate will be a truly pioneering act.” The Rakowiec estate, despite its small scale and limited resources, was widely reported and is a model example of avant-garde residential architecture of the 1930s.
Budget and technological constraints meant that traditional construction technologies were used despite the modern form. The project included six two-story blocks, with 48 apartments in each. The units had one-acre gardens attached to them, where residents could grow their own fruits and vegetables, and a public estate pond provided access to fish.
In addition to the residential buildings, a Community House was built to house the basic functions of the estate’s service – a laundry, drying room, doctor’s, and dentist’s offices, a kindergarten, and an auditorium.

Archival photo – Muzeum Architektury we Wrocławiu
Exhibition’s photos – Katarzyna Średnicka