Mr Adam Przywara

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Adam Przywara is a PhD Candidate in the Manchester Architecture Research Group at the University of Manchester. In 2016 he completed with distinction Architecture History MA at The Bartlett, University College London. Beyond academia, Adam worked most recently for documenta 14 exhibition in Athens and Kassel (2016-17) and undertook a research residency in the framework of Bauhaus Lab 2018. 


Tentative Title: "Rubble Europe: Trans-National History of Rubble Utilisation in the Immediate Postwar Period"

Supervisors: Dr. Łukasz Stanek and Dr. Leandro Minuchin

My PhD research introduces the matter of rubble into architectural history through an account of the immediate post-war period and early reconstruction era in Warsaw. In my archival work I trace the transformations of rubble into materialities of architecture in order to uncover the entanglements between wartime destruction and communist reconstruction of the city. I mobilize the matter of rubble, rather than of ruins of modernity, as it allows me to establish a materialist position towards political agency and socio-cultural implications of destruction, as well as retroactive and teleological accounts of reconstruction.

Rubble, subjected to both labour-intensive and technologically advanced processes, in the postwar years acquired the materialities of waste, salvage and aggregate. The process of wasting produced post-war city landscapes which undermined the division between the natural and man-made environment; salvaging entailed a struggle for necessities overlapping a state-wide process of inventing identities and myths; finally, architectural experimentation on rubble aggregates set the ground for communist modernization of construction sites; a new, post-war division of labour within architectural field emerged across the whole post-war continent. Seen through its materialities, the matter of rubble overcomes an ontological division between the destruction and production of architecture in modernity. Instead, it shows a multiplicity of uses, meanings, and values emerging from the cyclical view of architectural production and destruction.

Contributing to the architectural historiography of the post-war period in Warsaw, Poland and Europe, my research shows the changing relations between inhabitants, workers, architects, engineers and millions cubic meters of rubble and ruins — the built environment of the post-war era. I look at the realization of these relations in the necessary, productive and non-productive labour, which extended towards the transformation of rubble into materialities of future built environment. This allows me to grasp the reciprocal transformation between the society, professionals, state administrative and their built environment, informing our understanding of architecture as object conditioned by culture and political-economy.



  • Architecture, Materiality, History, Central Europe, Eastern Europe

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