The Under the Eagle Hotel, Bydgoszcz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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An exceptional example of hotel architecture, modelled after similar buildings erected in Berlin and bearing the hallmarks of the monumental, imposing style that they exemplify. The historic hotel is distinguished by its excellent state of preservation as well as the fact that it continues to perform its original role until this very day. It is one of the most spectacular projects ever to be completed by Józef Święcicki, a local architect. Inside, the edifice features a Baroque Revival staircase of outstanding beauty, adorned with an ornate balustrade crafted at the workshop of Heinrich Boettcher, renowned for his mastery of artistic metalworking.

History

Back in the early 19th century, a tavern owned by the Gliszczyński family stood in the area formerly known as the Gdańsk Suburb, in the vicinity of the medieval routes leading towards Gdańsk and Koronowo. The very first hotel to be known as “Under the Eagle” was erected right alongside this tavern by Gliszczyński, a local carpenter. In the mid-19th century, the property was acquired by the baker August Friedrich Bernhardt, who later passed it on to his son, Emil, in the year 1870 or thereabouts. Having spent a considerable of time in Switzerland, Emil knew all it took to be a successful hotel manager. The current, grand edifice of the “Under the Eagle” hotel, replacing its rather less lavish predecessor, was erected in the years 1892-1894, based on the design produced by Józef Święcicki, an architect based in Bydgoszcz.

In 1899, the building was leased out to Rudolf Trillhose, a hotel manager from Berlin, while in 1920 it was acquired by Stanisław Majewicz & Co.

In 1926, the hotel interiors were modernised under the direction of the architect Teofil Biernacki, receiving a completely new décor. During World War II, the hotel operated under the name of “Danziger Hof”, its director being Erich Blumm. Once the war came to an end, the hotel was briefly reclaimed by its pre-war owners, while in October 1945 it was nationalised and handed over to the Association of Worker’s Universities. In 1950, the hotel was taken over by the “Orbis” State Travel Agency. In years 1987-1993, the edifice underwent a thorough restoration under the supervision of the monument inspector, subsequently claiming the prize for the best public building restoration awarded by the Minister of Culture and Arts. On January 1, 1994, the hotel became the property of the “Majewicz” Hotel Enterprise, with the heirs to the pre-war owners of the edifice being among its shareholders.

Description

The hotel is situated on a corner plot of land, forming part of the eastern frontage of the Gdańska street, at the end of Dworcowa street, near the junction of Parkowa street. The historicist edifice, designed in the Baroque Revival style, takes inspiration mostly from the Baroque architecture of Rome. Erected on an asymmetrical, U-shaped plan, the hotel consists of the rectangular main body and a pair of wings - the shorter, northern wing and the elongated southern wing. It was designed as a five-storey structure with a basement, its uppermost storey taking the form of a mezzanine (a half-height upper floor). The front façade follows a multi-axial layout, its sumptuous decorations emphasising both the vertical and horizontal divisions. The three-storey oriel projecting from the truncated corner is supported by a pair of sculpted atlantes. The middle section of the façade is accentuated by a pseudo-avant-corps incorporating the main entrance, topped with a round arch and adorned with a Baroque Revival cartouche which seems to spread out from the keystone. The entrance is flanked with Ionic columns positioned on tall plinths, supporting the entablature upon which rests a split pediment. A stacked arrangement of loggias rises above the entrance, with the first- and second-floor loggias being flanked by sculptures of atlantes and eagles respectively. The front façade is adorned with decorative rustication up to the second-floor level. The ground-floor level walls are pierced with windows topped with basket-handle arches and round arches, while the first-floor windows are rectangular in shape, topped with semicircular arches incorporating keystones adorned with the visages of bearded men. The second-floor level is separated from the rest of the façade by a tripartite entablature, featuring a flamboyant string course adorned with decorative bossage, tear-shaped ornaments and a strip of acanthus leaves. Further above, at the third- and fourth-storey level, the front façade is partitioned with composite pilasters, resting on tall plinths and supporting an elaborate top section of the façade adorned with a frieze comprising medallion and festoon motifs as well as a corbelled cornice running beneath the eaves. Further above rises the roof parapet in the form of a balustrade, interrupted above the avant-corps by a plinth surmounted by a sculpture of an eagle with outspread wings. The original, partially reconstructed interior décor can still be admired in the entrance hall and the grand main staircase, the latter featuring a wrought-iron banister designed in the Baroque Revival style. The interior layout of the restaurant section dates back to the 1926 redesign, with additional modifications made after that period.

Accessible historic building. The hotel section is accessible to the guests of the hotel.

compiled by Bogna Derkowska-Kostkowska, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 26-11-2014 - 8-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Bręczewska-Kulesza Daria, Rozwój budownictwa hotelowego w Bydgoszczy w 2. połowie XIX i na początku XX wieku, “Materiały do dziejów kultury i sztuki Bydgoszczy i regionu”, issue 7, Bydgoszcz 2002, pp. 61-85.
  • Derkowska-Kostkowska Bogna, Bydgoszczanin i budowniczy, o Józefie Święcickim, architekturze i Bydgoszczy 1859-1913, [work in progress].
  • Jastrzębska-Puzowska Iwona, Hotel „Pod Orłem”, “Kronika bydgoska”, vol. XIV: 1992, Bydgoszcz 1993, pp. 45-54

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1892-1894 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gdańska 14, Bydgoszcz
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Bydgoszcz, commune Bydgoszcz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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