Honorary Award of SARP Wrocław 
for Anna and Jerzy Tarnawscy 

28.09, 5.00pm Friday 
DOFA inauguration and competition exhibition 
Museum of Architecture, 5 Bernardyńska St. 

05.10, 6.00pm Friday 
DOFA closing, 
awarding ceremony, banquet / Museum of Architecture, 5 Bernardyńska St. 

Anna and Jerzy Tarnawscy - Old Town, electronics and high-tech 
Anna (1923) and Jerzy (1926) Tarnawscy – a marriage of architects, professionally linked with Wrocław: they both studied at the local Faculty of Architecture (Anna came to the capital of Lower Silesia from Vilnius, George - from Warsaw), in 1952 they began working in ”Miastoprojekt”. They participated in the Old Town’s reconstruction, and in the second half of the 60s they developed a concept of small data centres, used for installation of electronic digital machines, which was awarded by the Polish Committee for Automatic Data Processing. Their unique – in the scale of the country - interest in this new field resulted in a project of the Lower Silesian Medical Diagnostic Centre (Dolmed) in recognition of which the architects received prestigious state awards: Silver Cross of Merit for Anna Tarnawska and Order of Polonia Restituta for Jerzy Tarnawski. They are also winners of Wrocław’s Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture awards, as well as Wrocław Municipality awards. Buildings designed by them were repeatedly awarded ”Mister of Wrocław”. In the 80s they worked in Algiers and at the turn of 1989 they founded their own architectural studio (along with their daughter Katarzyna Tarnawska and Jacek Frąckiewicz). Currently they are both retired. They live in a house designed by themselves in the district of Krzyki in Wrocław. Tarnawscy, just like most of young Wrocław’s architects in the early 50s, participated in the reconstruction of the Old Town - restoring details and facades, recreating destroyed frontages according to idealized, inspired by history patterns, however their first significant completed project called Plac Młodzieżowy(designed in 1954), which is a part of Świdnicka St. - proves their desire to move away from both: the ancient iconography as well as from socialist realist urban planning. Their team (A. and J. Tarnawscy, W. Czerechowski, R. Jędrak and R. Natusiewicz) set along Świdnicka St. a long block of flats on the plan of E letter, moving it to the back in comparison with the pre-war buildings’ line. Consequently, Świdnicka St has significantly expanded, as the front of the new buildings’ facade created a representational foreground. Thanks to its distinctive features such as a simplified architectural detail, diversified roofs’ solutions and lawns space arranged in the back (Szewska St.) the project can be classified as a suggestive example of an implementation of modernized social realism and an announcement of changes that took place in 1956. However a real manifesto of modernity in architecture and urbanism as well as Tarnawscy’s attempt to define an innovative and personal way the Old Town area is an estate designed in 1957 in Nowy Targ Square. A team of A. Czerechowski, J. Tarnawski, W. Natusiewicz and R. Czerechowski proposed to leave the historic model of buildings arrangement and implement a solution based on repetitive, precast segments of utilitarian architecture arranged in an intimate scale, referring to the neighboring environment. What made it special was its concept of flexibility of apartments’ plans - modified according to the future residents’ suggestions. Unfortunately due to imposed by authorities normative restrictions this principle was only applied in the first experimental building. Nowy Targ, currently neglected and evoking extreme emotions, remains one of the most interesting Polish examples of a redefinition of the historical context by author's interpretation of existing in those days town planning standards, based on the Charter of Athens. The Nowy Targ project’s closing coincided with the beginning of a new, independent project of Anna and Jerzy Tarnawscy, which was a new building of the Centre of Electronic Computing Techniques (ZETO), also located in the Old Town of Wrocław. This project of a prestigious nature was completed in 1969. Its ground floor was designed as an open space for electronic and digital machines (EMC), located behind large panes of glass and clearly visible from the street, while the floors were designed as open space which can be freely divided with light walls. In the central part of the building there was a patio and a café space with a terrace, enabling gathering for meetings and relax. 
ZETO is a futuristic project designed to accommodate first computers, functional and aesthetically refined, based on the op-art combination of black and white, geometric forms (circles, squares), proportionally balanced with a harmonious, horizontal divisions of the facade. On the basis of this project a complete, modular system for the construction of further such Centres has been developed. Its main features are: the smallest unit of EMC, a possibility of adapting construction and finishing materials, as well as technological equipment and furniture (ex. ETOB at Legnicka St. is a modified version of ZETO). The Tarnawscy studio in cooperation with “Miastoprojekt” has designed more than 20 buildings, associated with electronic computing techniques, including computing centres in Lubin, Gdańsk or Kraków. Basing on this experience, the architects undertook a challenge of designing a fully computerized electronic Centre of medical diagnostic tests. The first such building – Dolmed – a part of what was planned to be a nationwide network, was built in Wrocław in 1976-1977 and was the first of its kind in Central Eastern Europe. Even today it’s still considered as one of the best equipped Centres of preventive diagnostics in Poland. This ultramodern functionality imposed a specific architectural form: the essential part of the building is an inverted glass pyramid (horizontally set golden-brown aluminum framed windows) contrasting with a circular, tower-shaped staircase made of broken stone. The whole project impresses with a careful workmanship and high quality materials: marble, granite, vitro-mosaic, larch boards, aluminum etc. The architects also took care of its furniture, equipment as well as the neighboring environment where they created terraces, flowerbeds, geometric lawns and a fountain. In this medical Centre Tarnawscy combined a modern technology with sophisticated aesthetics - Dolmed might be nowadays regarded as an icon of the high-tech trend so unique in the landscape of the Polish 70s architecture. They further developed their style during work on ZETO 2 in Wrocław and a medical Centre in Bytom (both uncompleted). In the 80s their projects were influenced by postmodernism, especially their projects of office buildings and department stores. Still, the most important stage in Tarnawscy’s career seems to be their independent work on computerized data Centres and electronic Centres – their knowledge of new technologies, their aesthetic sensitivity and the ability to find adequate forms of architecture led to the creation of exceptional objects: buildings of Anna and Grzegorz Tarnawski could be compared to perfectly operating devices which don’t only meet the functional criteria, but also enable to create user-friendly space, emanating with peace and purposefulness, despite the overwhelming technicization. 

Agata Gabiś

Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak - SARP Wrocław Branch, SARP Honorary Award winner in 1974
Maciej Hawrylak - President of SARP Wrocław Branch, Chairman

Stefan Müller – SARP Wrocław Branch, SARP Honorary Award winner in 2011

Tadeusz Zipser - SARP Wrocław Branch, SARP Honorary Award winner in 1986