Dr. Maria Zwierz’s book ‘Sacrum and Postindustrialism. A history of the buildings on the eastern Odra islands in Wroclaw’ is a joint project between RealCo Property Investment and Development (the investor of Młyn Maria) and the Wroclaw Museum of Architecture.


It presents both the development and transformation of the islands’ buildings from the Middle Ages to modern times, as well as the fate of the former inhabitants of this picturesque corner of the city. Important events, including dramatic ones such as fires and floods, are described. It includes maps, postcards from private collectors, architectural designs and photographs. They show the old and modern architecture of the islands, including the destruction and loss of 1945, and the slow reconstruction. At the end of the album is a Guide to the Islands, which briefly describes the development of each property, and where possible provides information about the former owners.

The book has 308 pages of Polish-English text, 217 illustrations and a hard cover.

Art historian Dr. Maria Zwierz, author of Sacrum and Postindustrialism, as in her previous works, offers a critical and broad look at the issue in question. She has produced a book that is comprehensively illustrated with archival and contemporary photographs of buildings and architectural plans, mostly from the Museum of Architecture. The book is aimed at general readers but it is firmly and faithfully embedded in academic history. Despite being written for the general reader, the the book does not lack academic rigour. At the end is an extremely valuable guide that discusses chronologically the development of all the plots on all the islands. The book is a pleasure to read, and the careful editing ensures that all readers will be satisfied.

Prof. Krystyna Kirschke, Wroclaw University of Technology

Maria Zwierz's book ‘Sacrum and Postindustrialism. A history of the buildings on the eastern Odra islands in Wroclaw’ offers another very important piece of information. We learn that contemporary investors and architects are already fully aware that new developments in our city are not being created on green field sites but on old historical foundations. After all, Wroclaw is built on many levels – like a cake with overlapping layers that has been built, dismantled, destroyed and rebuilt. The eastern Odra Islands have been particularly touched by history, and this has been shown attractively in the heavily illustrated book by Maria Zwierz created in cooperation with RealCo Property Investment and Development and the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw.

Prof. Rafał Eysymontt, University of Wroclaw