Fort 8 was established in 19th century barrack buildings of Fort VIII Służew, a place with a 140-year history.
In 1880s, during a session of Supreme Privy Council of Russia, with the participation of Tsar Aleksander II, a decision was issued to fortify the western border of the Russian empire. Fort VIII was placed between Skarpa Ursynowska and the valley of Potok Służewiecki, and it was included into the outer ring of the Warsaw Fortress (with 28 main sites and other major defence points). It was completed in 1890. Over the years the fort underwent numerous modifications. First of them was related to the height of the building – the fort had been too conspicuous. Later changes were related to re-construction of the subsidiary roads, re-construction of the stables and warehouses. In 1909 an order was given to demolish all Warsaw fortifications, but in Fort VIII Służew only the caponiers in the trench were destroyed. The rest of the fortification buildings remained in place after demilitarisation. During WW2 German forces were stationing here, and the barracks served as stables. Later, until 1990s, the area was managed by the Polish Army. In 2005 it was bought by Turret Group.
The barracks, which are the foundation for Fort 8, are situated in the central part of the fort. The structure is covered with soil embankment of 32-ton weight. From the north there is a long forecourt, giving direct access to the barracks. The casemates were initially linked by enfilade aisles – currently they are walled in and serve as nooks. The main passageway in the barracks, apart from the side entrances to barrack rooms, used to open out as a postern, which enabled passage not only from the side yard to the main yard but also allowed access to – non- existent presently – ammunition warehouses and bunkers.
Renovation of a 19th century building was no mean feat. Tons of debris were removed, the interiors were revitalised and modernised, so that they could serve as modern commercial spaces. The soil bank was removed, the building was properly insulated, concrete cornice was restored. Brick losses were supplemented with new bricks, consistent with the historical model. The original outer window frames were kept, the inner frames were replaced with new ones, each manufactured to size. Entrance doors were renovated whenever possible, with modern replacements only when absolutely necessary.
Today Fort 8 is a living proof that historical revitalisation brings new life to forgotten sites – it’s a place where history and tradition meets modernity.