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About the journal » History of magazine


    The scientific journal “Architectus” has been published since 1997 by the Faculty of Architecture of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology. The originator of the periodical – initially semi-annual – was the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Stanisław Medeksza, who in 1996 suggested to Professor Ewa Łużyniecka establishing a journal and taking up the post of editor-in-chief. At that time, an editorial board was also appointed: Professor Zbigniew Bać, Professor Edmund Małachowicz, Professor Tadeusz Zipser and Professor Stanisław Medeksza. The publisher of the periodical was the Publishing House Department of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology, which entrusted the editorial care of the journal to Danuta Sowińska PhD.
    The problem of the title was a long-discussed issue. Periodicals which were issued at that time were mostly called scientific notebooks or research works. The aspiration of the organizers of our periodical was to find an appropriate, short and meaningful name which would immediately inform about the content. It goes without saying that the idea of coining a title from the word architect appeared instantaneously. At the beginning a Greek equivalent was taken into account – the word architekton because the Latin word architectus was associated by our designing colleagues with the history of architecture, which is not always liked. Unfortunately, at the time of registration, it turned out that a few months earlier a periodical with the same name was already established. As a matter of fact that periodical did not withstand the test of time and after two years disappeared from the market, and we continue to use the name “Architectus”.
    Detailed arrangements concerning the character of the periodical took almost a year. It was necessary to take into consideration suggestions made by members of the Faculty, which often happened to be diversified and not always possible to be agreed on. Today, for many of us the layout and formula of the “Architectus” seems obvious, but many years ago the editorial ideas about the format or colour were not always associated with the prestige of a scientific journal. In the search for a consensus the authors of “Architectus” were guided by the ideas which can be found in the oldest architectural treatise De architectura libri decem by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (Vitruvius) who lived in around 70 BC. He emphasized that: The architect’s knowledge comprises many sciences and diverse skills […]. This knowledge is born out of practice and theory […]. As it is with everything, and first of all in architecture there are two elements: an object which is determined and its determination. A determined object is a thing that is referred to; that which the object is determined by is argumentation based on scientific principles. Therefore, it appears that somebody who devotes himself to a builder’s profession ought to be an expert in both of these domains... He should master the art of writing, be a good drawer, know geometry, have an extensive knowledge of history. He should carefully listen to philosophers, be familiar with music; he should also have some knowledge about medicine and provisions of law; he ought to know astronomy and rules of celestial objects (Witruwiusz, O architekturze ksiąg dziesięć, Warszawa 1956, s. 12).
    These words – in our view – perfectly illustrate the multiplicity of problems which should be presented in an architectural scientific journal. But how to organize such diverse issues? Some of the colleagues from our environment believed that periodicals should be thematic. However, we were afraid not to have enough articles of similar topics and that is why we decided to include texts containing various themes in the particular periodicals. Thus consequently until today one issue comprises articles on theory of modern and historical architecture as well as town planning, green area development, aesthetics, structures etc. We also publish studies on architectural and urban planning projects which are carried out as well as presentations of philosophical views connected with the reception of architecture. We also anticipated a place for presenting biographies of famous characters from the academic and professional life as well as awarded student works, whose supervisors were the scientific workers of our university.
    One of the initial decisions made in 1996 was the choice of the format of the journal. Most of the contemporary Polish scientific journals used format B5 which visually increases the volume of publications, but in fact it does not allow to print drawings saturated in signs and lines. It was necessary to combine specificity of the work of our faculty and the way architects communicate, and one of their languages is a picture. Hence we decided to choose A4.
    Twenty years ago, the perception of colour in publications was different. In Poland a graphic expression of scientific papers of the 2nd half of the 20th century was simple, based on black and white illustrations and often on not very clear photographs. This image of science – rough and ascetic – survived for a long time. For many years there was a popular belief that if a journal contained colourful photographs, then this meant it was not a scientific journal. We cherish the hope that we succeeded in combining science with a colourful shape. Today, we transferred colour to the Internet – the fastest and largest platform for exchanging ideas.
    The cover, which had a specific layout and format of lettering although each time its graphic form was different from the previous one, became the showcase of the journal. As a result of a student competition in 1996, a graphic design by fourth-year students – Artur Błaszczyk and Krzysztof Faleńczyk was chosen. A. Błaszczyk is the designer of most covers until today.
    The first period of publishing the journal covered the years 1997–2006. At that time, articles were published in biennials in the Polish language and always ended with a summary in the English language. Marzena Łuczkiewicz was responsible for translations. The total number of articles per year ranged from 16 to 30 which were placed in the following sections: heritage, contemporaneity, intentions, reviews, our masters, and presentations.
    The following doctors participated in the editorial work: Magdalena Baborska-Narożny (1999), Maria Starczewska (1999), Andrzej Legendziewicz (1999–2001) and Małgorzata Doroz (2003, 2004). The first change in the editorial board of the journal took place in 2000. Professor Zipser and Professor Medeksza no longer took part in its works, therefore Professor Elżbieta Trocka-Leszczyńska and Professor Eugeniusz Bagiński took over their duties. Scientists from outside Wrocław, i.e. Professor Andrzej Tomaszewski and Professor Zygmunt Świechowski from Warsaw and Professor Józef Lenartowicz from Cracow have been the members of the board since 2003.
   In the period discussed, the journal was issued only in a printed form with an average of 500 copies. They were made available as a subscription and sold in “Ruch” outlets all over the country as well as in “Tech” bookstore in Wrocław. Publishing House Department of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology also conducted mail order.

Fig. 1. Papers issued in the years 1997–2006

    The first change in the journal’s formula took place in 2007. It was under the patronage of the Polish Academy of Sciences Wrocław Branch, and the Polish National Committee of the International Council for the Protection on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) – reports on the works of these institutions are periodically published in the journal. At that time, editor D. Sowińska handed over her duties to Anna Miecznikowska.
    In 2008, a growing interest in the journal, in particular among scientists from outside Poland, encouraged the editorial office to introduce further changes. The first was the decision to publish articles only in the English language. The next change was the creation of an on-line form of the journal and the launch of a website with access to full papers (archival website: www.architectus.arch.pwr.wroc.pl). The paper form of the journal still existed – the circulation of one semi-annual was about 500 copies.
    Scientists from foreign universities were invited to participate in the works of the editorial board. They were: Professor Tore I. Brandstvein Haugen from Norway (Fakultet for architektur og billedkunst, Norges tekniks-naturvitenskapelige universitet, Trondheim), Professor Joaquim Braizinha from Portugal (Universidade Lusíada de Lisbona), and Professor Vladimír Šlapeta from the Czech Republic (Fakulta architectury VUT, Brno). Moreover, Wrocław architects, dr hab. Jerzy Charytonowicz, dr hab. Małgorzata Chorowska, dr Ada Kwiatkowska and dr hab. Tomasz Ossowicz also became the members of the board. Dr Ewa Cisek was entrusted with the function of editorial secretary, whereas dr Dorota Łuczewska was responsible for the technical preparation of articles.
    At the beginning of 2009, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education assessed Polish scientific journals. Our journal was included in the group of journals in the field of technical sciences. As a result of the issues’ (2006–2008) evaluation, the journal received 4 points. This scoring was repeated in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 2012, the journal began to be indexed in the international Index Copernicus database (ICI Journal Master List). The evaluation value this year (ICI value 2012) was 5.34 points.
    In 2013, there were further changes as regards the character of “Architectus”. Due to a growing interest in the journal among authors and readers, the frequency of its publication was increased from two to four issues per year. Since then, the number of all articles published has ranged from 36 to 40 per year. The principle of publishing papers entirely in Polish and English or another congress language was introduced.
    The scientific council also got new members, including Professor Kateřina Charvátová from the Czech Republic (Katedra dějin a didaktiky dějepisu, Pedagogická fakulta, UK, Praga), Hugo Dworzak from Liechtenstein (Institute of Architecture and Planning, Universität Liechtenstein, Vaduz), Nathalie Guillaumin-Pradignac from France (Conservateur des Antiquités et Objets d’art. du département de la Charente), and Bo Larson from Sweden (Lund University). In 2015, Professor Robert Kunkel (Faculty of Architecture, Warsaw University of Technology), Professor Aleksander Piwek (Faculty of Architecture, Gdańsk University of Technology) and Professor Janusz Rębielak (Faculty of Architecture, Cracow University of Technology) joined the scientific council.
    Due to the constantly developing computer techniques, the on-line form has been the basic version of the journal since 2013. At that time, the journal was introduced to several databases, i.e. a bibliographic database registering articles and conference materials published in Polish technical journals BazTech, a database responsible for collecting information on quotations POL-Index, and CEJSH and Arianta databases. It is also available in the Lower Silesian Digital Library – a collection of digital editorial offices, which are published by 22 universities in Lower Silesia.
    At that time, a principle of issuing thematic issues was also introduced. Issue 3(35)/2013 was devoted to Cistercian architecture. In 2014, the idea of sustainable design and creation of pro-ecological architecture became the topic of issue 2(38). In the same year, structure and engineering aspects were discussed in issue 4(40). Architecture and urban planning of the 19th and 20th centuries was the topic of articles in issue 2(42)/2015. Contemporary spatial planning became the subject of considerations in issue 3(47)/2016. Issue 1(49)/ was devoted to the assessment of functioning of buildings in Poland and Great Britain; problems related to the city's identity were discussed in issue 2(50)/2017; the influence of advanced game strategies and computer simulation techniques on architectural design and the shape of urbanized space in the era of the IT revolution became the basis of issue 4(52)/2017, whereas the art of looking and drawing was reflected in the articles published in issue 2(54)/2018.
    The scope of works of the editorial office has significantly increased compared to the scope at the beginning of publishing the journal. The duties of the team include not only collecting articles and sending them for reviews, contacts with authors and linguistic corrections, but also systematic preparation of materials for many databases, supplementing the knowledge about changing principles of evaluation as well as partial administrative service.
    The increase in responsibilities is well reflected in the number of people involved in creating the journal. At the beginning, five people were connected with the editorial office, but today the team consists of nearly twenty. Among them there are dr Jerzy Sławski, statistical editor, architect Joanna Furgalska, editor of the French language as well as thematic editors: Prof. Wojciech Brzezowski (Antiques restoration), Prof. Rafał Czerner (Medieval architecture), Prof. Alina Drapella-Hermansdorfer (Sustainable architecture), Prof. Marzanna Jagiełło (History of gardens), Prof. Krystyna Kirschke (Architecture of the 19th century and the 1st half of the 20th century), Prof. Robert Masztalski (Urbanism), dr hab. Przemysław Nowakowski PhD (Interior design) Prof. Elżbieta Przesmycka (Contexts of architecture), Magdalena Baborska-Narożny PhD (Industrial architecture), Grażyna Hryncewicz-Lamber PhD (Architectural ethic), Dorota Łuczewska PhD (Painting), Wawrzyniec Zipser PhD (Spatial planning).

Fig. 2. The cover of the jubilee issue and a medal on the occasion of journal’s 20th anniversary

    However, the core of the editorial office consists of a few people who met in 2016 during the celebration of the journal’s 20th anniversary. Since 1997, the editor-in-chief has been Professor Ewa Łużyniecka. The tutor on behalf of the faculty was initially Professor Stanisław Medeksza, later Professor Elżbieta Trocka-Leszczyńska, and since 2020 Professor Barbara Gronostajska.
    Until 2006, the editor responsible for the editorial and linguistic aspects of texts was Danuta Sowińska. These duties were taken over by Anna Miecznikowska who significantly contributes to raising the standard of the journal and gradual increasing its scores.
    Marzena Łuczkiewicz, who is an English translator and editor and helps with solving linguistic problems, has been participating in the works since the beginning of the journal’s existence. Bogusław Setkowicz, who is a sworn translator of English, has been cooperating with us for many years. Architect Artur Błaszczyk was connected with the editorial office for a very long time, who – as it was mentioned above – as a student of our faculty won the competition for the design of the journal’s graphic design. A good spirit of the world of reviews is Ewa Cisek who is the editorial secretary and the thematic editor responsible for the substantive level of works in the field of contemporary residential architecture. The creator and operator of our website is architect Łukasz Netczuk who is unusually well-mannered and presents deep professionalism. Agnieszka Orłowska is the technical editor – thanks to her professionalism and commitment it is possible to publish the journal on time.
    For 23 years our editorial work has been characterized by striving for meeting deadlines and taking care of the contents of “Architectus” articles. It also taught us that to write well means to make an idea visible according to Ambrose Bierce, an American write who lived at the turn of the 20th century. Our work also provided an opportunity for exchanging views on all topics and resulted in developing many friendships. These works also became a pretext for an exchange of views on all topics and resulted in many friendships and taught us how to transform the journal.
    The effect of these changes was a more favourable evaluation of “Architectus” expressed, inter alia, by the following number of points awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in the years: 2013: 5, 2014: 5, 2015: 9, 2016: 9, 2018: 20 points. The score in the Index Copernicus database has also increased – it is as follows: 2013: 6.31, 2014: 68.41, 2015: 74,15, 2016: 88,84, 2017: 94,00, 2018: 94,58.
    For almost 25 years, the entire team has made all possible efforts to ensure that the journal continues to develop. Over the past two years, we have successfully continued to publish thematic issues. In 2019, an issue devoted to research and adaptations of defensive structures was published [1(57)] and an issue presenting the meeting point of architecture and art as seen through the eyes of Polish, Spanish, and Ukrainian authors [3(59)].
    The editors also make efforts to increase the substantive diversity of the journal and to get authors and readers from outside Poland interested in the journal. This tendency was reflected in the first two issues of 2020. In issue 1(61), which discussed industrial architecture, articles by authors from Australia, Belgium, France, Portugal and Scotland were published. Issue 2(62) was entirely devoted to El Fuerte de Samaipata, one of the most important monuments of pre-Columbian settlement in modern Bolivia, an object of interest to readers from many parts of the world. This issue is therefore addressed to the international community of researchers dealing with both the broadly understood studies of pre-Columbian cultures and the narrow subject of pre-Columbian rock art.
    At the end of 2020, a growing interest of foreign readers in the journal resulted in a decision to publish texts of articles in the English language and supplement them with abstracts in the Polish language.

Fig. 3. Ewa Łużyniecka and ElżbietaTrocka-Leszczyńska

Fig. 4. Danuta Sowińska and Anna Miecznikowska

Fig. 5. Marzena Łuczkiewicz and Ewa Cisek

Fig. 6. Łukasz Netczuk and Agnieszka Orłowska