Saturday, 11 am - 8 pm
Born in Tarnawce, a small village in eastern Poland, Grabowska-Hawrylak went to study architecture in Wrocław in 1945, the city that until that year had been Germany’s Breslau and suffered considerable damage during the war. As an essential part in the post-war reconstruction of Wrocław, the architect is responsible for a patchwork that has given a new unity to the torn city fabric.
With an extensive career covering much of the second half of the 20th century, we can find in this exhibition projects that span from 1954 to 1993. From participation in the reconstruction of Wrocław to the modernist designs of the 1960s-70s and the postmodern aesthetics she adopted in her later works from the 1980s-90s, the architect's work reflects the successive cultural and political changes in Poland.
Grabowska-Hawrylak is known for the huge and sculptural housing complex of Wrocław popularly known as Manhattan. Completed in 1976, the emblematic project has become a symbol of the city's aspirations. Her body of work also includes many examples of exceptional design: 1950s schools, a maisonette building with duplex apartments in the city centre or a futuristic urban centre, among others.
Despite changes in architectural trends, this patchwork sewn in Wrocław remains to this day one of its most interesting features and still holds an important position in the collective imagination of those who inhabit and visit the city. “Every building tells a story. For over five decades, the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław has consistently presented these stories, in an effort to understand what it takes to make good architecture, and how architecture is influenced by life and vice versa,” say curators Michał Duda and Małgorzata Devosges Cuber.
Patchwork features 24 built and unbuilt (or speculative) works by Grabowska-Hawrylak, and a model of Manhattan, her most famous work, rises from the Palácio Sinel de Cordes foyer.
Embracing the presence of Michał Duda, curator of the exhibition, we have invited Magda Seifert and Pedro Baía for a talk in the late afternoon. They have recently launched an unprecedented guide to Porto’s brutalist architecture, through their specialized publisher Circo de Ideias. Based on the Patchwork exhibition and a proposal to identify brutalist architecture in Portugal, we will seek to better understand these buildings with a peculiar design in exposed concrete. The conversation takes place outdoors, in the Triennale courtyard.
A city is made of collages of shapes, colours and elements that are repeated and multiplied with creativity and originality. Faces appear in houses and drawings on the terrain, in Lisbon, Wrocław or New York, traced by specialists and a little bit by all of us. Come and help design your city.
In 1951, she began working at Miastoprojekt-Wrocław, the state-run architecture and construction office for Wrocław. She remained at the company until the early eighties, after which she founded a design studio in collaboration with her son, Maciej Hawrylak.
Most of Grabowska-Hawrylak’s work is in Wrocław, but some of her work can also be found in Zamość and Kamieniec Ząbkowicki. She also took part in two foreign and several national competitions, of which she won four and received honorary mentions for three. Only one winning project was realized: the Millennium Memorial Church of the Wrocław Diocese.
On July 18, 1974, Grabowska-Hawrylak was the first woman to receive the Honorary Award from the Association of Polish Architects (SARP), the most prestigious architectural award in Poland. The award, granted in recognition of a single project, was conferred on Grabowska-Hawrylak for her innovative work on the Grunwaldzki Square complex, also known as Manhattan. Jury member Stefan Müller noted, “The prefabricated façade elements, with their complex, multifaceted form and curvature are an interesting and rare attempt at fully exploring the morphological properties of reinforced concrete.”
Grabowska-Hawrylak received several other awards and decorations for her work, including two awards from the Minister of Construction and Building Materials Industry (1964 and 1973), the Wrocław Arts Award (1966), and a SARP Award for Best Architectural Work for her own house (1984). In 1972 she was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit, a Polish civil state decoration, and in 1989 she received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for her outstanding achievements.
Grabowska-Hawrylak died in Wrocław in 2018, following the opening of this exhibition at the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław.