Modernist Centre of Gdynia


Modernist Centre of Gdynia — the example of building an integrated community is part of the Tentative list of Poland in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Since Poland regained its sovereignty after World War I and the city of Gdańsk received the status of a Free City, the Polish state required its own port. The nearby village of Gdynia was conceived as the new primary economy hub. The newly designed city was consequently built in the 1920s and 30s. In that time, the population grew from 1200 to 120,000 and the city became a symbol of modernism and the maritime ambitions of the young Polish state. It combines a traditional urban composition with progressive housing solutions offering light, space and infrastructure for its inhabitants.

Map of Modernist Centre of Gdynia

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Malta - 07-Sep-20 -

Modernist Centre of Gdynia — the example of building an integrated community (T) by Clyde

I visited this tentative WHS in August 2020 as a slight detour from the Gdansk tentative WHS and Malbork Castle WHS. If the former two manage to get inscribed Gdansk would become a WHS hotspot.

The Modernist Centre of Gdynia is apparently trying to seek inscription on similar grounds as the Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle WHS in Switzerland or the Le Havre WHS in France, i.e. a uniform urban complex developed in the 1920s till present days as a result of a unique and dynamic process of city construction. Gdynia combines features of traditional urban composition (an orthogonal street grid inscribed into the fanned landscape) with buildings that incorporate progressive housing solutions (ensuring access of light and air). The port city's design was based on the idea of opening the city to the Baltic Sea with the Southern Pier serving as a promenade and with general access to open port spaces (a marina, a passenger and short sea shipping harbour). The heart of Gdynia's urban layout can be 'appreciated' mostly by modern architecture/planning enthusiasts by walking along Ludego Street from the railway station to Kosciuszko Square and the Southern Pier.

As a non-enthusiast of modern architecture in general, but judging from other similar WHS or non-WHS I've visited, after visiting Gdynia I can say that no one building stood out and even as a modern urban layout I felt there was nothing unique or any value added gained should Gdynia ever make it on the WH list. Perhaps, Poland would benefit or stand a better chance by drafting a new nomination dossier trying to put forward Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk together as an ensemble. Then again, I feel they wouldn't contribute much to the WH list and it would devalue the Gdansk memory tentative WHS. 


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Modernist Centre of Gdynia — the example of building an integrated community
2019 Added to Tentative List

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Modernist Centre of Gdynia — the example of building an integrated community (T)
WHS 1997-2021