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‘L’Arc de Stettino’ – a new icon of Szczecin?


An Italian architect resident in Szczecin, Rudi Fontana, has proposed building a several hundred meter high concrete arch in Plac Grunwaldzki, in the very center of Szczecin.


‘L’Arc de Stettino‘ – a new icon of Szczecin?

The idea, first described in Szczecinblog in November, has recently gained more attention, being mentioned in the evening news on Monday, 16 November, as well as in Monday’s edition of ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’.

Rudi Fontana has explained his conception as follows:

“The consciousness of humans is constructed in such a way that it sees everything through the prism of one iconic object, usually architectural. When we hear of Paris, we see the Eiffel Tower, Rome – the Colosseum, Milan – the cathedral, Rio de Janeiro – Jesus Christ. This is a natural perception.  Szczecin has many iconic buildings, yet lacks one impressive structure associated solely with the city. This arch could function as such a symbol.”

He explained that his idea is based on the history of Szczecin:

“Paris’ streets were commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III on a ‘star pattern’, with the streets dynamically expanding from the center of the city. That was how ‘the Square of the Star’, later reamed after General De Gaulle, began, and where L’Arc de Triomphe is located. Szczecin’s street plan has been created on exactly the same street grid, and Plac Grunwaldzki is our ‘Place Charles de Gaulle’.

France is a unique nation, which is very proud of its achievements, having won many battles and founded many colonies, all of which have been chiseled onto the arch. The history of the settlement of Szczecin is entirely different.  Here, it is difficult to boast of wars won and military triumphs.  That’s why our arch could symbolize the city’s rebirth. For me, the point when the city rapidly began to transform itself,  was the closure of the shipyard.”

Rudi Fontana believes that, following the closure of the shipyard, Szczecin must reinvent itself:

“I have travelled and lived all over the world, I can observe Szczecin from a distance and I am delighted by its progress. In the course of just a few years, ul Struga, Hansa Tower, the Oxygen building, Brama Portowa, the philharmonic hall and the bulwark have all been finished or are under construction. This is no small beer. Foreign companies wishing to invest in Szczecin can see all this. But Szczecin still needs to make an indelible impression. When they hear the name they must associate it with something specific.


Rudi Fontana

English editor, A native of the Isle of Wight, Warren has been running the language teaching company, Go! Languages, with his wife Małgorzata, since 1997. A fan of England, Portsmouth F.C. and Pogoń Szczecin, Warren will be contribing articles on football for the Szczecinian.

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1 comment to “‘L’Arc de Stettino’ – a new icon of Szczecin?”

  1. ilter · 2013/12/17 · Permalink Reply

    The thing in the drawing doesn’t seem like “a several hundred meter high” to me though. And that thing looks so ordinary.

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