There is not a whole lot left of pre-World War II Warsaw; 72% of its residential buildings were bombed and lost. This one, in the Wierzbno district, lost much of its front facade and the inside was destroyed by fire. A lousy restoration was done postwar. Yet it was deemed worthy of protection; according to the press release,
The building is under the protection of the Warsaw Preservation Office, regarding massing of the building and the layout of windows. The proportion of the attic wall mass to the rest of the front elevation is also the subject of interest of the Preservation Office. The terms of conditions for construction, issued by the municipal office, did not allow the enlargement of the building footprint. These same conditions also dictated the coordination of the new design solution with the existing character of the building, especially regarding to the rhythm and symmetry of the elevations.
OK, so FAAB Architektura covered it in a gorgeous green wall. I would never guess it was the same building, which is usually the point in historic preservation, but hey, the new green wall "helps to improve the energy balance and creates a beneficial microclimate inside the building." The use is changed too; the former residential building is now headquarters for the Foundation for Polish Science.
The plants are supplied with water and necessary nutrients by a special irrigation system supported with a set of sensors located onto the surface of the panels. Based on the information collected the wall is automatically irrigated and fertilized. This process is controlled in real time and can be steered on-line.
There is no question, it is a lovely living wall. The other facades are restored more conventionally, as are interior elements like the interior stair, which "recalls the atmosphere of similar buildings of the era located in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels."
It does push the envelope of what we normally consider architectural preservation, considering what was there before, but it's quite the wall. More at V2.com and the architects website.