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When was it biuld?

The ‘Koszyki’ market hall, commonly known as the ‘People’s bazaar’ was built in 1906-1908 in Koszykowa Street in Warsaw at the then ‘Koszyki’ grange place.

Why "Koszyki"? The origin of the name

The name ‘Koszyki’ does not derive from weaving baskets or from shopping baskets. According to a very legitimate source the name comes from the wicker baskets which were to strengthen trenches around Warsaw built by Stanislaw Lubomirski, the Great Crown Marshal. The embankment raised in 1770-1771 was allegedly to protect the city from the cholera epidemic, but more probably it was all about money. The embankment made it impossible to come to the capital 'just like that' because the fiscal control was intensified. It went north from today’s Koszykowa Street and although it was deconstructed much earlier, almost until 1916 it marked the boundaries of Warsaw.

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Who designed it?

Hala was designed in art nouveau style by the main Warsaw architect in Poland, Juliusz Dzierżanowski. The gate was wrought and lavishly decorated in H. Zielinski’s factory and had decorative sculptures made by Zygmunt Otto. Some of them, like the bull’s head and the mermaid on the attic survive until today.

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What was it for?

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In 1949 Hala was rebuilt and given back to public use. At the same time serious changes took place there – the space of a still fine bazaar was appropriated by WSS Społem, a pre-war cooperative which became a chain of state-owned trading posts after the war. In an article “New means of reaching the consumers” we can read: “While the appearance of state WSS chain retailers became a great opposition to traditional bazaar trading, it was still completely controlled by the private initiative.”

The story of the district and its residents.

Koszykowa Street and its environments became aprosperous district of Warsaw again. - When Hala disappeared we all felt like we were missing something, Elżbieta Wichrowska says. A senior in her job, she had been working as a hairdresser in Koszykowa Street since 1973. While reminiscing about the old times in her hair salon the lively lady with luxuriant hair showed us two bricks - the sign of love for the historic Hala. – I took them from the construction workers in case Koszyki wouldn’t exist anymore, she said. She refers to the old residents of Koszykowa Street as ‘we’, because everyone knows everyone here. Mrs Wichrowska is like an institution – she’ll be working for ever, as her first boss used to say. Her salon, opened in 1904, became an instant love of the film-makers. It has been shown in Wladyslaw Pasikowski’s “Jack Strong” recently. They say that Marshal Piłsudski himself used to come here. A short walk down the street (between Plac Konstytucji and Aleje Niepodległości, which makes a kind of a separate district together with the adjoining Piękna St., Lwowska St. and Noakowskiego St.) is enough to prove the rich history of the place. Mieczyslaw Fogg, a great bard of Warsaw lived at 69 Koszykowa Street, a well-known pilot Stanislaw Wigura set off for his last flight from his apartment at 66 Piękna Street and finally Mira Zimińska-Sygietyńska ,the co-founder of worldwide known Mazowsze lived at Lwowska Street, just about a hundred metres from Hala Koszyki. - It was easy to recognize the pre-war citizens of the neighbourhood, as they used to walk with elegance and grace, Mrs Wichrowska says. Even before the war people described the district as educated – the majority of the citizens were freelancers, doctors and after the war also professors.

What makes it so special?

In 1964 life in Hala changed completely – the building went through a great renovation, and it is said that only then all the private trading was gone from Koszyki and they organised one socialist model department store. Within the supermarket there were a few big shops like the self-service grocery ”1001 drobiazgów”, an industrial shop and “2002 wzory” clothes shop. There were 18 grocery and 32 industrial stands altogether. At the time Koszyki was visited by three thousand people a day and the profit of Hala in 1963 was 190 mln zl., which was 30mln zl. more than in the previous year.

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In February 1990 the onset of New Poland brought next revolution to Hala Koszyki – the cooperative department store was spin off from Społem and became a separate self-contained shop. The look of Hala also changed - now, just like whole country, it was colourful and patchy with flashy signboards everywhere. Hala Koszyki was pounding with life again – it was loud and crowded both inside and in front of the store, where market traders and barrowboys came back and were not chased at all. Right next to the people in worn clothes smartly dressed people were doing their shopping, next to Fiat 126p Mercedeses were parking. The products were also tempting everyone because sellers really did try their best, you could often hear that it’s impossible to get something anywhere but in Koszyki. The director Konstanty Ciszewski who lived in adjacent to Hala tenement house at 65 Koszykowa Street liked to do shopping here very much. The sellers from Koszyki knew how to care about their regular customers. They’d phone and say they’d just had delivery of fresh lamb. These people and their approach made us feel like we were at home. Shops were always well sorted and I could buy even fine Georgian wines there – he recollects.

Today

In 2012 the building of Hala situated on more than a hectare plot was bought by Griffin Real Estate who restored Koszyki its’ previous glory. In autumn 2016 Hala came back to life as Warsaw’s social and culinary center, where you can choose to eat a fantastic meal in one of numerous restaurants and pubs or buy fresh products to preparea delcsious meal at home. Thanks to Hala Koszyki Warsaw joined the world’s metropolis like New York, London, Oslo, Rotterdam or Florence where such places teem with life around tables laden with all cuisines of the world.

DOWNLOAD PDF BOOK WITH HISTORY HALA KOSZYKI

Konstrukcja Stalowa - zdjęcie

STEEL CONSTRUCTION AND COLOUR PATTERN

The original, historical steel structure of Hala Koszyki is more than 100 years old. Initially, the iron it is made of was supposed to have been used for reinforcement of the Modlin Fortress. However, it appeared not to comply with the strict military criteria and, therefore, the steel was earmarked for Hala Koszyki. The con-struction was erected by the “Gostyński i spółka” company in early 1900s, and the good workmanship made it possible for this structure to withstand the fire during the Second World War and the consistent lack of renovations in the period of the Polish People's Republic.

Historical sources do not mention the colour patters of the structural and decorative components of Hala Koszyki. It was only the stratigraphic tests of the particular components and their renovation that helped to establish that Hala Koszyki was originally maintained in the shades of green. This colour – with reference and respect to the history and the place – was conti-nued as the main one in the new version of Hala Koszyki. The restored and revitalised steel construction is one of the symbols of Hala Koszyki's history and the architectural continuity of the building.

BUILDING MATERIALS OF HALA KOSZYKI

The bricks, which were used for building Hala Koszyki more than 100 years ago, are characterised by a variety of shades specific for the production technology of that time. The current brick walls of Hala Koszyki are built from the same bricks that date back to early 1900s! During the dismantling activities, the bricks were cleaned and stored for subsequent use in the contemporary walls. Other original elements include fragments of floor surfacing, such as the old floor tiles dating back to the construction of Hala Koszyki, whose charm and uniqueness never cease to enchant visitors. The steel construction of the girders and the unique character of the eaves soffit made of wooden boards have also been preserved in the restored building.

Materiały budowlane Hali Koszyki

THE SQUARE BEHIND HALA KOSZYKI

Before the war, the square behind Hala Koszyki used to be a place of street trading, filled with the hustle and bustle of everyday life and formed a passage to the property at Noakowskiego Street. During the period of the Polish People's Republic, it was converted into a large bottle and glass packaging return point. Today, the restaurant gardens and are full of life all day long.

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THE SQUARE IN FRONT OF HALA KOSZYKI AND THE BUILDING'S FAÇADE

Hala Koszyki was designed at the beginning of the 20th century in an art nouveau style by a young, 33-year-old architect, Juliusz Dzierżanowski. Forced to squeeze the hall into a relatively small plot of land, Mr Dzierżanowski suggested that the front of the building be moved backwards a few meters so that carts with food supplies would not block the street. This is how Hala Koszyki obtained its characteristic shape of a horseshoe with two protruding side bays. The square, located between the art nouveau fencing and the building, was a place of small trade from the very beginning.

Merchants would hunt for customers in front of the entrance and the stalls were abundant with goods. The hall attracted attention not only through its metal construction, which was very modern at that time, but also through the multitude of perfectly finished art nouveau details – sculptures by Zygmunt Otto, banisters or latticework. On the façade Warsaw residents could also admire the low reliefs of food plants – a sunflower, corn and beetroot. All the elements that survived through the 20th century and could be restored were renovated and placed in the new Hala Koszyki.

Plac przed Halą Koszyki

THE OUTBUILDING / ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING

A two-storey building with characteristic chimneys, initially designed as an office for administrative employees of Hala Koszyki. There also used to be a flat for the director of the hall. The painstakingly restored outbuilding is the original buildings which used to perform office functions.

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THE GATE BUILDINGS

Designed in early 1900s by Juliusz Dzierżanowski, the gate buildings have been greeting the guests to Hala Koszyki for over 100 years, encouraging them to pay a visit. The characteristic semi-circular thermal windows have been part of Hala Koszyki since its beginning and have been preserved in the current architectural design. The buildings are also decorated by the historical sculptures by Zygmunt Otto, dating back to the early 20th century. Symbolical sculptures of bovine heads, which have been preserved until today, were placed over the entrances, indicating the presence of meat stalls in Hala Koszyki. Ceramic tiles from the original decor of the gate buildings were also kept to be re-used in the initial layout after the renovation. During the renovation works, a wall advert encouraging customers to buy canned fish was found and restored. This advert dates back to the times of the Russian partition and was written in Cyrillic.

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THE BASEMENT

The undergrounds of Hala Koszyki were the cutting edge of technology as soon as they were created. The lowest level was occupied by vast shop warehouses, but it was the cooling boxes placed on the “-1” level that constituted a breakthrough approach to food storage. All of them were electrified, thus making it possible not to store fish and meat in sawdust and ice. The hygiene standards in Hala Koszyki were amongst the highest in Warsaw and quality controls were carried out on a regular basis. At present, the basements of the building are used as commercial premises and a car park.

THE PORTAL

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Assiduously renovated with the use of original components, the portal is located in the axis of Hala Koszyki. It is decorated by an art nouveau gate, historical window joinery and stone gate stoppers dating back to early 1900s. The wall tiles can boast a history of over 100 years as well.

 

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THE MEZZANINE

The mezzanine appeared in Hala Koszyki after the war – it had not been included in the initial design by Juliusz Dzierżanowski from the beginning of the 20th century. This additional space was quickly adapted for shops and service points, and – more importantly – it has found a strong appeal amongst visitors and guests who throng to the first floor premises. Unfortunately, the mezzanine has also become a tempting attraction for... burglars, who tried to get into the premises of Hala Koszyki by opening the skylights. For this reason, the mezzanine was removed in 1971. It came back to its former place thanks to the reconstruction of Hala Koszyki, retaining its characteristics of a commercial venue.

STAIRS FROM A FORMER TOWER

The stairs, which come from a tower which no longer exists, led to the roof of the building. They were renovated during the reconstruction of Hala Koszyki.

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AN ECCENTRIC WINDOW

The space of the building was ventilated by means of eccentric opening mechanism in the windows located in the upper part of the middle bay. The windows were opened by means of a transmission system and chains from the ground floor. A sample bay of the original window, along with the opening mechanism, has been restored and exposed.

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DECORATIONS AND STEEL LINTEL BEAMS

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The numerous decorations used for the construction of Hala Koszyki at the beginning of the 20th century have stood the test of time and can now be admired in a restored form. It is worth noting, amongst others, the art nouveau flower-shaped decorations and the steel lintel beams.

THE REMAINS OF STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS

The historical construction of Hala Koszyki, which can be admired inside the building today, is more than 100 years old. Before receiving their second life, the steel elements were covered in a thick layer of rust. As a memento of the pre-renovation appearance of the construction, Hala Koszyki features the original steel components.

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