Warsaw, Nicky Boulton, Avenue Magazine 1991
Shortly after the fall of communism in Poland, we went to Warsaw for a fashion shoot for Avenue Magazine. After wandering around for a couple of days, scouting locations, we decided that the ‘Palace of Culture and Science’ was definitely one of the places that had to be part of our Double Agent story.
It wasn’t hard to get that organized. Being a controversial ‘gift’ from Soviet leader Stalin and a symbol of Soviet oppression, the building was practically deserted, stripped of its functions, and ready to be torn down.
Because of a lack of money, the ‘Palac Kultury i Nauki’ – the tallest building in the country, an architectural mix of Socialist Realism and New York Art Deco – was eventually not destructed, something people are very happy about today.
In recent years a newfound appreciation of the architectural style from the age of communism, has taken root among young people, causing the building to become the face of Warsaw, and appear on the covers of all books and tourist-flyers concerning the city. The new generations have a more positive attitude towards this style of architecture than the people that have negative memories of the Soviet era, and find it more interesting than the buildings constructed since the 90s.
These days the Palace is home to many companies and public institutions, such as cinemas, sports clubs, libraries, universities, scientific institutions and theaters.