Bank Handlowy Building

  • location: Kraków, ul. Grzegórzecka 21
  • outside sightseeing: yes
  • inside sightseeing: no
  • outside photographing: yes
  • interior photographing: no
  • authors: DDJM
  • authors' website: http://www.ddjm.pl
  • construction: 1997
  • authors of photos: © DDJM

Spaces of contemporary Polish banks, in most cases, consist of small areas in the ground floor of buildings in busy locations. They tend to be uniform, temporary, finished with cheap materials and filled with persuasive advertising.

The building designed for the Kraków branch of Bank Handlowy w Warszawie (today Citi Handlowy) communicates different values entirely. Firstly, it raises the standard of the otherwise unattractive, somehow neglected front of Grzegórzecka street. Secondly, its architects employed tested, classical solutions, and adapted them to include the contemporary language of forms, materials and technologies. The façade was subdivided into three zones: the stone pedestal with pillars; the light, glass curtain wall; and the mesh cornice – “sun-breaker” of a kind. Thirdly, durable materials were used – including steel and stone cladding. Fourthly, the comfort and wellbeing of the bank’s clients was taken into account: the pillars and stone cladding in the public areas carry the message of prestige and safety, elegant details bow to good taste, while uncommon spatial solutions – such as the steel walkway over the trading room – are pleasantly surprising.