UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


19 June 2017 | 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

The Architecture of the VII Day

Masaryk Senior Common Room, UCL SSEES, 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW
The Architecture of the VII Day…

FREE, followed by a drinks reception

Photo by Igor Snopek

Over 3,700 churches were built in post-war Poland, most of them raised in the reformist spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Although this sacral revolution radically changed Poland’s landscape, it has been a relatively unknown and uncommented phenomenon of Polish architecture.

In the times of the Polish People’s Republic, building churches was a form of protest, one the communist regime seemed not to notice. The more the authorities tried to suppress democratic processes in the country’s politics, economy and media-sphere, the more Catholic temples mushroomed. Only in the 80s, after the rise of the anti-communist Solidarity movement, did groups of people around the country initiate the construction of over 500 churches! Local parish communities engaged in this process from the outset by choosing designs, participating in the construction works, and raising money.

The Architecture of the VII Day is an archive of these collectively built churches. Curated by Kuba Snopek, Iza Cichonska and Karolina Popera, the project aims at documenting the history of that past cooperative effort. Intriguing in its enormity and its confused political context, what does it say about us now, at a time when crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or other forms of community organising to provide for local needs have become commonplace?

The UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies together with the Polish Cultural Institute in London warmly invite you to this evening of discussion inspired by the Seventh Day Architecture. Architects and researchers Kuba Snopek   and Iza Cichonska  will present an online archive and associated book documenting their project. Sociologist and psychologist Dr Michal Luczewski  (University of Warsaw) together with expert in material culture and visual communication Professor David Crowley (Royal College of Art) will discuss the social, cultural, and political aspects of this unique church-building phenomenon. This session will be chaired by Director of UCL SSEES  Professor Jan Kubik . There will also be a display of images presenting selected churches documented as part of the project.