On 23rd November 2011, the office staff and guests had an opportunity to listen to a lecture dedicated to the architecture of the interwar period. Andrew Szczerski PhD, a historian and art critic, lecturer at the Institute of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and the author of a book “Modernizacje. Sztuka i architektura w nowych państwach Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 1918-1939” (“Modernizations. The art and architecture in the new countries of Central and Eastern Europe 1918-1939”), focused in his speech – enriched, as always, with inquisitive questions of the audience - on the place which the city of Gdynia holds in this modernist landscape. According to him, our city proved to be a space in which modernization was not a utopian project, but reality and the fulfillment of hopes for the era dominated by the "grand narratives" of progress and modernity.
Andrzej Szczerski emphasized, however, the specific dimension of modernization in Gdynia, resulting from the conditions under which the city and its harbour were built. For the city, which was clearly set on the future, it was important to find the source of its prosperity in the re-interpreted tradition. Thanks to this, the modernism of Gdynia managed to avoid the radical avant-garde, and today the new forms are valued for their functionality and aesthetics expressing the modern identity of the city. We could appreciate all the ideas visually while contemplating the slides illustrating Andrzej Szczerski’s presentation. The lecture also included other examples of the newly discovered literature from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states of the nineteen thirties.