Centennial Hall in Wrocław, Wrocław
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Centennial Hall in Wrocław remains an exceptional example of early Modernism, incorporating many pioneering features. Designed by Max Berg and built in years 1911-1913, the building was erected on a quatrefoil floor plan, its central section topped with a ribbed dome with a 65-metre diameter which, at the time of its completion, was the largest reinforced concrete structure of its kind. Its technically innovative dome also proved to be aesthetically pleasing, not only being widely imitated due to the engineering solutions incorporated therein, but also serving as an inspiration for architects of public buildings. Although the appearance of the structure was a nod to the architecture of the days gone by, the building was a breakthrough design which has managed to meet the expectations of the local community. Its enormous interior which could accommodate as many as 10 000 people was designed with mass events in mind, be it assemblies of various sorts, sports events, exhibitions or other spectacles.

Apart from the Centennial Hall itself, the entry on the World Heritage List also includes the immediate vicinity of the building – the central part of the Exhibition Grounds, a complex designed by Max Berg and Hans Poelzig, built in connection with the Centennial Exhibition held in 1913. The exhibition facilities were located alongside two compositional axes, with the Hall positioned at the intersection thereof. Some of the structures were temporary in nature and have been dismantled shortly after the exhibition. However, the most important parts of the complex have survived, including – apart from the Hall itself – the Pavilion of the 1912-1914 Historical and Artistic Exhibition designed by Hans Poelzig (known as the Four Domes Pavilion) as well as the concrete pergola which surrounds the pond. The incorporation of the southern section of the nearby 19th-century Szczytnicki Park into the exhibition grounds was an interesting choice. One of its notable features is the Japanese Garden, created as a part of a themed garden exhibition, as well as a 18th-century wooden church relocated from the Upper Silesia (which originally formed a part of a temporary Exhibition of Sepulchral Art). In the subsequent years, new elements were added to the Exhibition Grounds which became an integral part of the entire complex, including the main entrance colonnade dating back to 1925 as well as the steel spire installed in 1948, designed by Stanisław Hempel.

It should be emphasised that the Centennial Hall has retained its original architectural form and boasts a high degree of authenticity in terms of both its structure and the materials used. The Exhibition Grounds continue to be used for their original purpose: the Hall is used as an exhibition and conference centre, while the surroundings thereof serve as an open recreational space.

The Centennial Hall was included on the World Heritage List in 2006 during the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee in Vilnius (dec. 30 COM 8B.47).

Entry made on the basis of criteria I, II and IV:

Criterion (I):

The Centennial Hall in Wrocław is a creative and innovative example in the development of construction technology in large reinforced concrete structures. The Centennial Hall occupies a key position in the evolution of methods of reinforcement used in architecture, and represents one of the climax points in the history of the use of metal in structural consolidation.

Criterion (II):

The Centennial Hall is a pioneering work of Modern engineering and architecture, which exhibits an important interchange of influences in the early 20th century, becoming a key reference in the later development of reinforced concrete structures.

Criterion (IV):

As part of the Exhibition Grounds of Wroclaw, the Centennial Hall is an outstanding example of Modern recreational architecture that served a variety of purposes, ranging from hosting conferences and exhibitions to concerts, theatre and opera.

The Exhibition Grounds are open to visitors. The interiors of the Centennial Hall are also accessible.

Compiled on the basis of materials of the National Heritage Board of Poland, 30-11-2015

General information

  • Type: cultural
  • Chronology: 1911 - 1913 r.
  • Form of protection: UNESCO
  • Address: Wystawowa 1, Wrocław
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district Wrocław, commune Wrocław
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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