He was born in 1955 in Gorlice. He studied architecture at the
Krakow University of Technology in the years 1974–80 and history
of art at the Department of Philosophy and History of the Jagiellonian
University in 1977–82.
In 1981–90 Janusz Sepioł started to work at the Office of Development
of Krakow. For his planning work he and his team were awarded
ministry prizes of first and second degree and the first prize in the
young architects’ competition in Veliko Tyrnowo (1982). He took an
active part in the works of the Polish Association of Architects (SARP)
and staging of the International Biennale of Architecture in Krakow.
In 1990 he became, firstly, the director of the Department of Spatial
Planning and secondly, the head of the Regional Policy department
at the Voivodship Office in Krakow (i.e. the so called “voivodship
architect”). He was also the author of the Plan of Spatial
Development of the Krakow Voivodship. Janusz Sepioł was awarded
(team) prizes in the competitions for the city centres of Tychy, Tarnów
and Starachowice, he took part in design studies for Berlin
(working in R. Loegler’s team), he was the curator of the exhibition
Baustelle-Polen in Berlin. In 1998 he was appointed director of the
Department of Spatial Planning at the Office of Housing and Urban
Development in Warsaw and chairman of the State Committee for
Urban Planning Licenses. He was a councilor for the Sejmik Małopolski
(voivodship self-government) of the 2nd and 3rd term.
In the years 1999–2002 Janusz Sepioł was elected the Vice-
Marshal and in 2002–2006 the Marshal of the Małopolska Voivodship
[the highest self-governmental voivodship function] He was the
Design Principal of the Spatial Development Plan for the Małopolska
Voivodship (2nd degree Ministry prize), an initiator and a member
of the jury of a number of architectural competitions (Krakow
Opera House, the extension of the Aviation Museum in Czyżyny, a
new bridge over the Dunajec river in Stary Sącz, the premises of the
Cricoteka [T. Kantor heritage museum], the centre Małopolska Garden
of the Arts. He caused the extension of the open-air museums
in Nowy Sącz, Wygiełzów and Zubrzyca.
During his term in office a special prize for the protection of the historic
wooden architecture and the architectural prize of the Małopolska
region were established. Also a special “trail of wooden architecture“
and the “Małopolska Cultural Heritage Days” were launched and
In the year 2007 Janusz Sepioł has also acted as the President of
Krakow’s plenipotentiary in the field of cultural affairs. At that time he
also organized and was on the jury of the competitions for the Congress
Centre, Museum of Modern Art, sports club Cracovia’s new stadium
and the sports hall “100th Anniversary of Cracovia”. He also coorganised
the exhibition in the former “Schindler’s Factory” premises.
Since October 2007 he has been a Senator of the Republic of Poland,
deputy-chairman of the Self-Government and State Administration
Committee and the chairman of the Polish-Russian Senate
Janusz Sepioł is also a member of the SKOZK – The Public Committee
for the Restoration of Monuments in Krakow (since 1990),
five museum boards of trustees (including the Wawel Castle and the
National Museum in Krakow) and The International Cultural Centre
in Krakow. Since 2001 he has been a member of the Platforma Obywatelska
(Civic Platform) party and a member of its National Board.
My way to architecture led through my sightseeing passion. I was
never quite sure whether I wanted to become an architect or an art
historian. Owing to my uncle, who was an architect, I landed at the
Spatial Development Office but I soon realized that the real urbanism
was made by those who made investment decisions, those who were
ruling. The right to take decisions is more important than beautifully
drawn boards. Hence I always understood my public activity as the
There are very few architects among politicians. I have been the
first in the re-established Senate. It seems a tad strange because architecture
requires teamwork and team spirit among people of different
professions, and it favours design oriented thinking, which is
almost always a guarantee of effectiveness.
Modern Polish architecture is better than it is generally considered.
It dramatically lacks a good promotion in the country and even more
so abroad. Inasmuch as I am more and more often pleasantly surprised
by the recently completed, exquisite architectural designs, as
regards urban planning I am increasingly pessimistic.
Although I do not practice as an architect, I am quite passionate
about architecture. I do most of my traveling with architecture in
mind; it dominates my home library (which is not small) . Architecture
is also the subject of my photographic endeavors which have been
publicly exhibited. I enjoy every valuable building, especially if it is
built in Krakow. That is why I have initiated a photographic competition
for the readers of the “Gazeta Krakowska” daily, called “Krakow
– My Home“, for the best completed structure of the year. It is now organised
for the fourth time.
I often think of my student years. In these memories the major part
is played by our professors. Some of them were amusing, some weak,
but the majority of them were real personalities. The most valuable,
it seems, was the mere atmosphere of the Faculty, a certain degree
of tension and let us say – of chaos. At the history of art the standards
were perhaps a bit higher and there was more discipline. But the enthusiasm,
stir, competition and panache – not there, not an inch.
Pacing up and down the Market Square in Krakow I always try to
pass by the plaque commemorating Poland’s access to the European
Union (placed not far from the plaque devoted to Tadeusz Kościuszko).
I designed and supervised the completion of it, albeit almost at the
verge of the law. I am also moved by the sight of motor rail painted –
according to my idea – in the colours of the flag of the Małopolska region
that is white, golden and red. This is my contribution to the
landscape of the city.
My tastes are rather eclectic. As it appears, it is a problem of almost
every historian who was trained to perceive beauty in diversity.
And yet I cannot understand how anybody can be unmoved by the
art of Tadao Ando. My most enthralling professional experiences so
far were juries of architectural competitions. This is an intellectual
adventure, incomparable to anything else, especially if one has the
opportunity to listen to and watch great architects.
Krakow, June 2010
More at www.sepiol.pl