PKiN is the tallest building in Poland.
It features 46 levels, including 2 underground. The height used to be 230.68 m. However, an antenna base was added on top of the spire in 1994 and the total height is now 237 m.
When PKiN was opened to the public back in July 21, 1955, the height from the top of the spire antenna was:
- 230.60 m above the ground (level "0")
- 231.3 m above the small square in from of the main entrance
- 234.5 m above the level of Marszałkowska Street
It was the second tallest building in Europe then. Today it is 19th.
On 2000 New Year's Eve, a big clock was kicked off at the top of PKiN – the second biggest one in Europe.
It has four dials, each 6.3 m in diameter and 450 kg (including the clock hands). The hour hand is 2.7 m and the minute one 3.54 m. At the time of assembly it was the world's highest tower clock.
All four dials feature the symbol of Warsaw – the mermaid.
The main structure of the highest (core) section is a welded steel frame. It was filled with bricks which is a light-weight material that reduced mass of the masonry by 25% and working time by 21%. Initially the bricks were imported from the USSR, but soon the Soviet recipe was copied to Poland and produced here.
There were 3,500 Soviet workers hired at the construction site, topped with 4,000 workers from Poland. The Soviets stayed at a dedicated residential estate which was called Friendship. It was developed using prefab wooden buildings located in the outskirts of Warsaw. The estate was equipped with shops, a cinema theatre, a library, two canteens and a cultural centre, a show room with a stage, an outpatient clinic, a nursery for babies and children, even a hospital and a school for adult workers.
05 View Terrace
The extensive sightseeing terrace which surrounds the top tower is the only public-admission terrace placed so high (114 m). It is on the 30th floor of PKiN. The terrace can be reached within just 19 seconds by taking an elevator. The 30th floor interiors include the Gothic Hall, an in-house gallery and a coffee place.
PKiN is also nicknamed Peking (former name of Beijing), because word PKiN sounds quite similar to Peking in Polish. However, the same name is often used for another historic tenement called Krongold House, which is located at the crossroads of Złota and Żytnia, as well as another building found in Praga Południe district. Władysław Broniewski, a famous Polish poet and soldier, once called PKiN "Nightmare Dream of a Drunken Pastry Cook" while a French actor Gerard Philipe said when visiting Warsaw that PKiN is "tiny but stylish".
07 Front walls
Front walls around PKiN are covered with ceramic tiles which were manufactured specially for this project in a remote factory in USSR's region of Ural mountains. The same factory produced the sculptures which can be found in several recesses around PKiN.
The first residents were cats which moved in to PKiN long before the first government-approved tenants. Today, there are 11 cats living in the underground levels. The highest-living residents are peregrine falcons which have nests just under the spire. They have been living there since 1998. The same nest is now being used by the second pair. Further down, in the 15th floor towers there are kestrels. On top of the floor of Studio Theatre (6th floor), there is a living bee apiary established among melliferous bushes. Mr Wiktor Jędrzejewski from City Bees association takes care of the bees.
09 Cubic volume
The total volume is 815,000 cu.m/28,800 million cu.ft, and the total floor area inside is 110,000 sq.m/1,120 thousand sq.ft. The ground area covered by the building is 35,000 sq.m/380,000 sq.ft. Volume
- High section: 328,300 cu.m/11,583 thousand cu.ft
- Congress Hall – 123,500 cu.m/4,343 thousand cu.ft
- Dramatic Theatre – 59,200 cu.m/2,100 thousand cu.ft
- Museum of Technology – 51,000 cu.m/1,800 thousand cu.ft
- Swimming pool area – 63,500 cu.m/2,200 thousand cu.ft
- Children Palace – 65,600 cu.m/2,300 thousand cu.ft
- Studio and Lalka Theatres – 57,500 cu.m/2,000 thousand cu.ft
- Kinoteka cinema – 67,000 cu.m/2,400 cu.ft