Kukurydze Katowice

Henryk Buszko & Aleksander Franta


  • Frederique van Andel TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Dick van Gameren TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


The Silesian city of Katowice boasts a few distinctive groups of residential tower blocks. They were designed in the 1970s by Henryk Buszko and Aleksander Franta who, from 1956, were in charge of the Polish state-owned office PPBO. Large-scale industrial housing developments, which dominate virtually all Russian and Eastern European cities, are usually labelled Plattenbau and reached an exceptionally complex and elegant apotheosis here. In the Tysia˛clecia district Buszko and Franta designed five housing blocks, commonly known as Kukurydze (corn cobs), in which a maximum number of apartments with good ventilation and daylighting are grouped around a single core. The square core is surrounded by a garland of eight smaller, square modules, each of which accommodates a two-bedroom apartment, alternated with the occasional one-bedroom apartment. The towers are conspicuous not just for their exterior and floor plan but also for the way in which they complement the ground level. The tower blocks are built on a base with a sunken car park. The first two storeys differ from the standard storeys and contain shops and other amenities. This attempt at a more precise urban fit is lacking in most Eastern European Plattenbauten, which generally sit forlorn in an undefined space.

Author Biographies

Frederique van Andel, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Frederique van Andel holds a Master’s degree in both urban planning and architecture from Delft University of Technology. She worked for Mecanoo architecten and DP6 architectuurstudio in Delft, and lived in Barcelona where she worked with architect Toni Gironès. Since 2006, Frederique is a researcher and lecturer in the Global Housing research group of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft. Her main topic of interest is affordable housing for growing cities in the Global South. Frederique curated the exhibition ‘Global Housing – Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities’ (2016) with venues in Delft and Addis Ababa. She is editor of the book series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) and coordinates and edits the online Platform for Affordable Dwelling (PAD). Frederique teaches Master courses on Global Housing Design and Bachelor courses on Plan Analysis. She is project manager for the research project ‘Addis Ababa Living Lab: Creating Resilient Dwelling Clusters for Urban Resettlement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’, funded by the Dutch Research Council and TU Delft (2019-2023).

Dick van Gameren, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Dick van Gameren is dean and full professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of Delft University of Technology, and partner at Mecanoo architecten in Delft, the Netherlands. Combining his work as an architect with a professorship, Van Gameren maintains a critical approach to design by lecturing, researching and publishing. In 2007, Van Gameren won the prestigious Aga Kahn Award for the design of the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia. In 2008, Van Gameren founded the book series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) and is since then editor in chief. At TU Delft. He leads the Global Housing Study Centre and is also board member of the Archiprix foundation, of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre in Rotterdam and of the Amsterdam based AMS Institute. He is also a member of the TU Delft Global Initiative Steering Committee.