Rotunda. Photo © 2017, Mat Fahrenholz for Poland In Your Pocket
Sadly, it’s the end of the road for yet another iconic PRL era architectural gem. The PKO Rotunda bank building, situated on the corner of ul. Marszalkowska and al. Jerozolimskie, first opened its doors to the public in 1966.
Designed by architect Jerzy Jakubowicz, the building quickly earned the nickname of “the General’s Cap” due to its specific ‘round and crowned’ shape. Its central landmark nature also made it THE meeting up point for people going shopping, out on the town or meeting a date – every Varsovian knows exactly what “Meet me by Rotunda” means.
In 1979 a gas explosion ripped through the building, killing 49 people, injuring 70 and demolishing 70% of the building. The structure was rapidly rebuilt using the original plans.
Rotunda is already closed and demolition work is set to start by the end of January. Work on an ultra modern steel and glass replacement building is expected to be completed by 2019. The project was designed by Kraków based architects GOWIN & SIUTA.
For those of you fluent in Polish, check out this TVP reportage: