Looking back, there is every reason to think that Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science should have followed the Berlin Wall as an architectural casualty of the Eastern bloc's collapse. A gargantuan Stalinist skyscraper “gifted” to the Nazi-ravaged city by the Soviet Union, the Palace stands as an inescapable reminder of Poland's communist past and its subjection to Soviet imperialism. Yet thirty years after the Cold War's end, the building not only remains Warsaw's undisputed center, but it also has gained a reputation that consistently defies the ideological expectations of the presumed posthistorical liberal order. Providing spaces for numerous cultural and civic functions—including theaters, museums, sports facilities, a...

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