The architecture of Cu39 directly refers to the paintings and mosaics of Wojciech Fangor, a master of op-art and abstract art exploring optics, illusion, and color.
The Cu39 building project was shaped by a philosophy that refers to three layers of ideas:
1 – art and perceptual architecture
2 – ecology and sustainable development
3 – architecture as a financial asset
The copper facades of the building (symbolizing the element Cu) are inspired by the M39 painting, which was sold in November 2018 for a record amount of 4.7 million PLN. The distinctive detail of the facade, made of copper lamellas, forms a structure directly referencing the soft, colorful planes of Fangor’s work. As described by the American critic John Gruen: “Fangor’s skill lies in his ability to create a pulsating intensity of color that almost hurts to look at. But once the eye adjusts to this effect, we discover the harmonious construction of his abstract shapes, and the final result is a stunning and beautiful lesson in the creation of optical art, in its deepest and most lyrical form” (John Gruen, Angels in Treetops, “New York Magazine,” January 4, 1971).
The designed facade of the Cu39 building is made of undulating copper lamellas that form optically integrated variable planes depending on the viewer’s perspective. This creates a dynamic facade defined by human perception in various ways. We call this Perceptual Architecture at BXB Studio, which we first applied in the project of the Kamienica Krakowska near the Royal Castle on Wawel Hill.
Fangor was able to freeze the dynamics of color and shape transformations in time. The copper forming the facade of Cu39 will change color over the years through patination, but this process will be synonymous with Fangor’s creative records.
The eastern elevation of Cu39 is additionally formed by elements of a green wall that intertwines with vertically shaped lamellas. This is another factor influencing the perceptual and variable character of the building, both in color and shape.
The western elevation of the building resembles a composition of geometric forms that directly refer to Fangor’s op-art mosaics realized in the 1960s at the Warsaw-Śródmieście Railway Station and entered into the register of historical monuments in 2020.
The spatial layout has been designed to adapt the facility to changing needs. The building can function as the headquarters of a single tenant on all three floors or as a multi-unit property. The current functional layout of Cu39 includes commercial space on the ground floor, office space on the first floor, and an independent apartment space on the top floor with a private rooftop garden.
Cu39 was conceived as an architecture that ages well and serves as an investment asset that gains value over time. The copper that shapes the character of the building represents an investment asset located in real estate.
Cu39 is an eco-friendly building designed using prefabricated CLT wood technology, with a structural framework that incorporates space for vegetation on the facade, terraces, and a roof equipped with a flower meadow and beehives. The panoramic glazing of the southern and northern elevations directly connects the interior with the adjacent greenery integrated into the building’s structure.
Project: BXB Studio Bogusław Barnaś
Team: Bogusław Barnaś, Aleksandra Gawron, Bartłomiej Mierczak, Justyna Duszyńska-Krawczyk, Magdalena Fuchs, Urszula Furmanik
Location: Poland, Kraków, Kazimierza Wielkiego Street