Waliców: DNA of Warsaw – Europe’s heritage

Created 100 years ago, survived ghetto, the Warsaw Uprising and post-war demolition. They have the city’s DNA. 3 tenement houses at ul. Waliców, abandoned and surrounded by office buildings, hotels and blocks of flats. Recently, they have been entered into the register of monuments and are waiting for their second life.

Podcasts - part 1 & part 2:


How to recover them for the inhabitants of Warsaw? Can this fragment of the city regain its pre-war identity, when the streets, yards and houses were full of life? Is there a place at the heart of Warsaw city for memory meetings and social life? What is the point of view of experts, Warsaw authorities, urban environments and inhabitants? Can we all together create a plan for Waliców?

We invite for a discussion with the participation of architects, curators, urban activists, historians, varsavianists, and inhabitants.

During the war, the tenement houses at ul. Waliców 10, 12 and 14 formed a part of the Warsaw Ghetto. Opposite to the houses, there is still a fragment of the wall that remained. The facade of the building at ul. Waliców 14 was demolished during the Warsaw Uprising. The house with ruined front have not been rebuilt to this day. It is unique in Europe, similar to the famous Memorial Church in Berlin with its tower destroyed as a result of air raids preserved in this state as a warning before another war.

Houses at Waliców Street inspire and move the Warsaw inhabitants and foreign tourists coming from various parts of the world. This is proven by social bottom-up initiatives on commemorating the history of this place undertaken by artists, social activists and inhabitants since the beginning of 1970s to the present day.

Milan architects, Adjunct Professors Guido Morpurgo and Annalisa de Curtis created at School of Architecture Urban Design Costruction Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano the workshop “Waliców Project” as part of which young architects from the Politecnico di Milano and Warsaw University of Technology implement own projects on the revitalisation of houses at Waliców.  The tenement houses are for Guido Morpurgo a sort of a valuable find – DNA of Warsaw, a fragment of a buried city, destroyed as a result of a plan of annihilation of this part of Europe put into practice. The history of Waliców is an element of not only Polish, but also European identity.

We asked experts from various fields for creating studies consisting of their ideas on the future of the tenement houses at ul. Waliców as a place referring to the local history and to various memories of it, being a monument against war and terror, and at the same time, a city centre for cultural, artistic and social activity serving for inhabitants as a place to rest, work (co-working spaces), education and fun for the youngest.

The concepts will be presented during the discussion: “Waliców: DNA of Warsaw – Europe’s heritage” on
4 March in the POLIN Museum by:

  • Adjunct Prof. Guido Morpurgo from the School of AUIC of the Politecnico di Milano, co-author of the architectonic project Memoriale della Shoah in Milan, author of Waliców Project at the Politecnico di Milano
  • Prof. Christopher Whitehead from the Newcastle University, leader of the European project called CoHERE, museologist, curator, specialising in research on the European heritage, identity of a place, and modern culture;
  • Prof. Jacek Leociak, Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences (head of Research Team on the Holocaust Literature) and the Research Centre on the Extermination of Jews, author of numerous publications on the Warsaw Ghetto and Polish and Jewish relationships, among others, “Getto warszawskie. Przewodnik po mieście nieistniejącym” (together with Barbara Engelking);
  • dr Tom Schofield from the Newcastle University, researching on art and heritage in the era of digitalisation of culture;
  • Beata Chomątowska, writer and journalist, researcher of the history of Warsaw, founder and president of “Stacja Muranów”;
  • Kamil Miklaszewski, architect-urban planner, concept consultations: Krzysztof Pasternak, architect, author of the revitalisation of ul. Chłodna in Warsaw;
  • Paweł Nowakowski, specialist researching development and revitalisation of cities, among others, from the investment, ecological and social perspective.

Hosting discussion: Artur Celiński, expert on cultural policy and the meaning of culture for the development of cities, head of the team for the City’s DNA Project, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of “Magazyn Miasta”.

Apart from authors of expert studies, representatives of environments previously engaged in the matter of Waliców will take part in the meeting (representatives of the city authorities, urban activists, inhabitants, varsavianists, urban planners and historians).

The objective of our initiative is to develop together an initial plan for the tenement houses at ul. Waliców 14, 12, and 10, which could be presented to the city authorities Wola district authorities in a form of a proposition of the future of this place,” says Zygmunt Stępiński, deputy director of the POLIN Museum. “We hope that our undertaking will be a good example of a bottom-up initiative engaging both the city authorities and experts, urban activists, inhabitants, and varsavianists; and that this activity will be developed together by all of the groups mentioned.”


Languages: Polish and English (simultaneous translation).

The concept of Waliców as a DNA of Warsaw created by: Guido Morpurgo, 2018.


The activities described above constitute a part of the project: “Critical Heritages: performing and representing identities in Europe – CoHERE” (program of the European Commission “Horizon 2020”). 

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 693289