I loved Katowice. You will not be surprised after I confess my love of street art, of contrast, of things that are not pinned down in their disinfected cleanliness and their frozen historicities and false fronts but that are in various stages of subsiding or becoming. I find these places full of possibility. Palimpsests of all that has been, visible in crumblings and peeling paint, all that could be in the fanciful newness and bright colour, growth made possible through the crumbling itself. Above all an opportunity for imagination.
The strange feeling that something, something had happened here behind this door.
The how-on-earth of a caravan behind another door of faded magnificence:
The courtyards that lie behind each arch — spaces full of corners, the unseen. Spaces allowed to retain a fullness of mystery and hints of green spaces.
It is mystery, perhaps, that I loved most. Not knowing what lies around those corners. Modern constructions leave no spaces unseen like this, never frame space so beautifully, never encourage. exploration in this way, and definitely do not age with such fascination.
Unless, of course, modern constructions are built in contrast to the older forms. Then they startle, provide difference. I confess I quite love these towers, their geometries, their thoughtfulness in granting all tenants views and light. I only wish they were a little closer, instead of isolating residents away from the movement and life of the city.
Here too, just as in its deeply contrasted satellites Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec, the central mines hovers above and between buildings, filling the view with the memory of the coal that helped bring it to life.
There is also the great wide center, full of people, buildings representing a different kind of glass-and-steel modernity contrasting with these older streets, and a working public transportation system. I actually like this center as it sits in contrast to other things. I imagine, however, it might be a bit arctic in winter.
Beauty and humour abounds here, and it is vibrant with life.
A little more of the art & design that I loved:
This place illustrates many of the principles of creating fascinating human city-scapes explored by people like Cullen and Alexander, I only wish we had had a little more time to explore this city.
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