David Lynch and Frank Gehry will enrich architectures of Lódz in Poland.



 Poland I recently arrived in Chicago with nothing more than a backpack and an eager desire to discover the windy city.  Each day I embarked on my trips from Chicago’s union station and my sightseeing tours reminded me of  when I was a student at the Łódź film institute in Poland.  At that time, I also made many trips discovering buildings which were very rundown but carried shadows of old fame and beauty.


With regards to Łódż, I knew that at one time, after reforms carried out by Polish politician Mr. Wielopolski in the 19th century, Łódż became a textile center for central Europe, exporting its products to Russia, which at that time was called the Imperial Russian Empire.  Many merchants and tradesmen became very wealthy, erecting for themselves very flamboyant residences and modernizing and extending their factories.


My first week of traveling throughout Chicago, seeing the many defunct factories and abandoned buildings, made me think of Łódż, when I was traveling throughout the different areas of that beautiful city, also seeing many old factories and skeletons of old industrial buildings.  After discovering this similarity between Chicago and Łódż, I came to the conclusion that it is only natural that both of these cities, however different in size and population, carry one similar feature: both of them were once big, sprawling industrial cities and however differing in the magnitude of that industrialism, they were still similar in essence.


I don’t know the details of how David Lynch and Frank Gehry discovered the existence of Łódż, but being myself an ex-student of the Łódż film institute, I could only guess that it was film that took them that route.  Even before coming to Chicago, I found out from my old friends at the film institute that David Lynch and Frank Gehry made headlines last year in local Łódż newspapers for their involvement in creating two multimillion dollar cultural centers focusing on converting old industrial buildings into high-ranking cultural centers.  Using those old, industrial structures, with many beautiful art deco details, and transferring them into vibrant cultural centers, they were also breathing new life into the drab city and helping to convert it into a possible future cultural capital.


Gehry’s design for the Camerimage Center.  There will be 4 movie theaters, 1 large concert auditorium, 1 small auditorium and a large courtyard.

It is a well known fact that in times of economic turmoil and crisis, the discipline that suffers most is always art.  Therefore, creating vibrant cultural centers the way that David Lynch and Frank Gehry are doing, raises hopes for both the citizens of the city as well as its young creators.  They are creating new chances for exhibitions, film festivals, art sales, and networking between film and other artists.  And many other similar projects are also underway.  Recently, two old, abandoned buildings became home to an art museum and the city’s first class, expensive and very upscale hotel named Andel.  The city of Łódż is financing many of these cultural projects.


 Pritzker Therefore, as a fresh newcomer to Chicago, I would like to share with you my opinion that Chicago could follow Łódż’s example, especially since one of the innovators in the Łódż project, Frank Gehry, has already been so well tested by this city – after all, he designed the stunning Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the centerpiece of Millenium Park, which was built on old and rusting railroad tracks.  And as a former student of the film institute, I have great appreciation for David Lynch, whom I can guarantee will bring a similar bracing vision and energy to his architectural undertakings as he has to his brilliant films.  I have no doubt that together, these two legendary artists will create something very beautiful, pragmatic, and innovative.  And just like I discovered Chicago’s modern architectural beauty, I encourage you to go to Łódż in Poland and see for yourself the restoration of another beautiful industrial city where David Lynch and Frank Gehry found their inspiration.