Institute for Spatial Management (noteworthy)

fot. Centrala

In Warsaw – the capital, a city with a remarkable architectural scope across the past, present and future - where chaos and instability are rampant, institutions that would systematize the wide scope of knowledge and architectural practices, or create a lexicon and tools for understanding the dynamics of events in the urban space, are lacking. So, we have taken it upon ourselves to establish the IZO (gu).
The temporary headquarters of the Institute for Spatial Management (noteworthy) - IZO (gu) - are located in the building designed by Stanisław Bieńkuński and Stanisław Rychłowski in 1948. Their project for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce was one of the first buildings to be constructed in post-war Warsaw. Building materials included concrete recycled from the rubble of the razed capital, which was used to make bricks. The building, of a moderate size, featuring little more than a flight of stairs, was a link between the Ministry building (today’s Ministry of Development) and a residential building that housed its employees, which was built first. Today this building serves as the seat of an institution with a similar purpose - to synchronize a city understood in most part by way of its administration, rules, regulations with the needs and priorities of its residents, to function as an institution dedicated to the physical space of the city, on the one hand, and the social life of urban dwellers, on the other, and to create a language that can adequately describe the space around us, which is, in turn, affected by our presence within it.

Bęc Zmiana Foundation /

ul. Żurawia 1a, Warsaw, Poland

27.11 – 16.12.2016

Project made possible thanks to a grant from the City of Warsaw and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage


The building distinguished in major part by a flight of stairs – an architectural detail tied to movement, the passage from point A to point B – becomes in and of itself an exercise in understanding that architecture isn’t so much as a state of being, but one of action. It is a verb trapped with the confines of nouns. The life of space. The area all around, not the building itself. The potential hidden within a solid material. The flow of knowledge and experience. A massive didactic tool in practice. A stroll through the city. Unsustainable thinking and action in the field of architecture is grounded in its verb-ific character – the all-consuming useology of architecture!

The Institute for Spatial Management (noteworthy) strives to be an unsustainable institution, geared towards the expansion of a critical analysis of architecture’s role in culture formation and collective engagement. ISM (n) treats knowledge as a fundamental tool of useology, rather than reach for a pantheon of expired ideas. The physicality of the architectural space assumes a matrix of cultural meanings piling up on top of one another over time, which should be exploited, rather than frozen. This is why the institute is working to initiate a critical debate on the topic of what should be preserved. The key function of the ISM (n) ought to be to create a network of various architectural circles and architects locally and abroad. It will also pursue and promote progressive solutions for the issues faced by today’s metropolises. The verb-based nature of architecture drives it into the interdisciplinary area of thinking that brings together the fields of economics, sociology, social activism, new technologies, law and science. ISM (n) aims to tune into this area and actively monitor its findings. It aims to serve a tool of mass communication, linking city residents and amateurs into the threshold of architecture in practice, of which they are an integral element. The word “management” isn’t meant to suggest any form of control, rather, it is meant to indicate a conscientious effort to create a network of links between different people and the institutions that make up what is to be a map for Spatial awareness and discovery. We welcome you to join us as we inaugurate its inception.

Preliminary proposals for ISM (n) projects:
– Building an open, trustworthy and easily accessible living encyclopedia of knowledge on contemporary Polish architecture and its impact
- Building an archive of building materials
- Putting together a toolset that will serve as an archive of completed and incomplete design projects of contemporary architecture and urbanization in Warsaw (and other areas), with references to a database of its authors
- Putting together and maintaining a physical collection of design materials (sketches and blueprints)
– Setting up an exchange network between various institutions and non-instutional groups of residents who would collectively shape the urban organism
  - Hosting a series of seminars and workshops on the protection of living landmarks, the evolution of the idea of what qualifies as a “landmark” and its critical application
- Hosting a series of meetings geared at initiating a debate on the subject of the changing urban space, plans for its development, substitutions, additions, omissions, intentions and desired results, and clearly articulated lapses
- Exhibitions and lectures on the subject of progressive leads in the field of architecture and ways in which they address contemporary issues
– Exchange of experiences between young architects and integration with the wider public
– Exploring ew technologies and contemporary architecture
– Mapping out the needs and expectations of different sides engaged in creating the urban organism
– Creating a language for talking about the city and our place within it, enrichening the urban experience by way of new, convenient forms and expositions
– Providing a space for meeting and dialogue

Text: Magda Roszkowska and Bogna Świątkowska based on responses from dozens of people from all over the country – architects, urban planners, designers, activists, scholars and researchers in urban affairs, along with residents.