Office and Administration
Kraków’s unfinished Skeletor, named after the eponymous Masters of the Universe comic character, was to be renovated and completed as part of a redevelopment programme. Started at the end of the 1960s in the context of a new, modern vision for the city, work on the 96m tower and other structures had been put on hold during the economic crisis of 1979.
The original steel structure, still in excellent condition, was used as part of the primary structure for the new tower, upgraded to meet modern standards. Renamed the Unity Tower, the 27-storey building now rises 102.5m, culminating in a viewing platform that offers views of the city’s old town and the four other buildings that make up the Unity Centre. Housing 46,000m2 of offices, apartments and commercial space, it represents a small city in itself.
Tallest office building in Kraków
The redevelopment also changed the face of the Kraków Skeletor. Inspired by the city’s historical architecture with its mix of structure and plasticity, it now boasts both modernist and Art Deco elements, a range of influences fitting for the largest building in Kraków.
The exterior space is shaped by a series of squares and pathways and by the striking architecture, which is divided along classical lines into base, central zone and attic. Inside, the building’s owners have given the concept of functional neutrality a new twist in an “investment free of architectural barriers”. The façade called for special attention. The considerable forces at work on the tower, in particular, and the functional and aesthetic considerations to be taken into account required a range of different construction techniques and materials including screen walls, columns, transoms and prefabricated elements, ventilated façade sections and a stone façade.
Pilasters and merlons in aluminium and gold
On the upper floors of the tower façade, decorative merlons of reinforced aluminium sheet are fitted to the steel substructure, attached to the ceiling and the heat-conducting connections. Gold-coloured panels on top of the merlons provide additional effect. The two top floors of the tower are completely glazed and project prominently above the merlons. At night the façade is illuminated, transforming the tower into a beacon of light above Kraków.
“We wanted the new Skeletor to take its cue from the other prominent buildings in Kraków, to become part of Kraków, for its inhabitants to be able to say, “That’s our Skeletor”“ Marek Dunikowski