Water Pumping Station complex, currently serving as the Waterworks Museum, Bydgoszcz
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Water Pumping Station complex, currently serving as the Waterworks Museum

Bydgoszcz

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A well-preserved example of a post-industrial complex in the city of Bydgoszcz. Accompanied by the water tower, the complex, situated on the Freedom Hill, is an example of a model adaptation of a historical monument of industrial architecture to serve the new function of an exhibition space.

History

The municipal pumping station complex, consisting of the pumping hall, the tower rising above the collecting well, the administrative and residential building and the historical perimeter wall, was erected in the years 1899-1900, based on the design produced by the Berlin-based architect Franz Marschall. The complex was designed to serve as one of the components of a state-of-the-art water and sewage system of the city of Bydgoszcz, which also included a water tower on Filarecka street and a sewage pumping station on Jagiellońska street. Back in 1885, a geological map of the city of Bydgoszcz was drawn up for the purposes of selecting the location of the future water intake; in the end, the location chosen was a spot situated 3 kilometres away from the city limits, in an area remaining under the supervision of the Bocianowo forest administration. The architecture of the eclectic complex of buildings itself was primarily influenced by the Gothic Revival style, featuring a profusion of brick and fretwork decorations. A second pumping station building, erected in 1937, also forms part of the complex on Gdańska street.

Between the years 2001 and 2012, some of the buildings forming part of the pumping station complex (the pumping station itself and the turret rising above the collection well) were adapted do serve the needs of the Waterworks Museum, founded in 2012. Today, the former pumping station serves as an exhibition space and conference centre. In addition, an educational trail where visitors can become acquainted with various pieces of historical waterworks equipment is also located on the site of the complex.

Description

The pumping station complex is located in the northern part of town, at a distance of 1.5 kilometres away from the city centre, on the eastern side of Gdańska street, right behind the railway overpass.

The pumping station building was designed on a compact, rectangular floor plan, its main body adjoined by a rectangular avant-corps; the interior of the structure is a single, open space with an entrance in the avant-corps section. It is a single-storey building with a basement and an attic, its symmetrical silhouette consisting of a cuboid main body and an adjoining avant-corps of the same height. All façades are similar in terms of design, featuring a rhythmic arrangement of two-stepped buttresses and pointed-arch windows, with a continuous, dentilled cornice and a brick arcaded frieze at the top providing the finishing touch. Beneath the gables, the frieze follows a stepped outline, with three steps on each side. The gable walls are adorned by tripartite, pointed-arch blind windows incorporating a large, monumental rosette design on the middle axis. Parts of the gable are concealed behind decorative fretwork incorporating sturdy wooden beams adorned with inverted finials arranged in a radiating pattern. A slender, decorative wooden finial can be seen jutting from the roof ridge above the gable. The interior layout has undergone alterations in the course of adaptation thereof as a museum and exhibition space; as a result, the machine room pit has been concealed beneath new flooring, although the ornate supporting pillars with their elaborate capitals have been preserved intact. The decorative pillars support the lavishly designed, chamfered ceiling beams above. The arcaded brick cornices running alongside the northern and southern walls serve as supports for the gantry crane rails. The cornices also support a rhythmic arrangement of brick pilasters which in turn serve as the base for the wooden frieze running directly beneath the ceiling. The pumping station hall features a profusion of period fretwork decorations in the form of wood panelling, ornate ceilings, friezes and columns as well as the stained glass in the upper sections of the windows, above the transom bars, incorporating the motif of the swan and the heron.

The administrative building was designed on an irregular floor plan, similar in shape to the letter U. The edifice consists of a number of clustered cuboid sections covered with multi-faceted roofs: the gable roof above the main body, the half-hip roofs above the avant-corps and the hexagonal, tall roof crowning the tower. The roof surfaces are clad with roof tiles. The building consists of both two- and three-storey sections, with a basement underneath the entire structure. Its brick walls are punctuated by windows of varying sizes, with a decorative arcaded frieze running beneath the eaves; the gable walls are graced with lavishly designed fretwork decorations. The slender tower, slightly offset against the middle axis of the façade, features a timber-framed uppermost storey, with the brick infills between the wooden beams being covered with plaster. The entrances into the building are positioned in the offset section of the façade as well as at the base of the tower. The interior follows a two-bay layout and features a pair of staircases as well as partially preserved ceramic tile flooring and wooden fixtures and fittings.

The collection well turret is a structure designed on a circular plan, surrounded by four small avant-corps and topped with a conical roof surmounted by a roof lantern with an octagonal spire. The body of the turret is cylindrical in shape, with the entrance positioned in the larger avant-corps. All avant-corps are crowned with stepped gablets with pointed-arch blind windows incorporating narrow, segment-headed windows. A broad, stepped cornice runs around the circumference of the structure. The conical roof is surmounted by a wooden, louvred lantern designed for ventilation purposes, supporting a polygonal, pyramid roof with a wooden finial on top.

The perimeter wall has been preserved on the northern and southern sides of the site; it is a brick structure consisting of several distinct sections, its individual spans separated by square posts topped with gable rooflets clad with brick. Each wall span is divided by a single lesene into a pair of recessed panels topped with a dentilled frieze. Two surviving posts at the eastern edge of the wall are visibly taller and supported by buttresses reaching up to their mid-height; these posts are topped with triangular gablets with cruciform blind windows and ceramic fleurons on top.

The site is open to visitors. Exploring the buildings is possible by prior telephone appointment.

Museum tours available Monday to Thursday, 11 AM - 4 PM, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, 1 PM - 5 PM.

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

Bibliography

  • H.Metzger, Das Wasserwerk und Entwasserungsanlage der Stad Bromberg, [in:] Industrie und Gewerbe in Bromberg, Bromberg 1906.
  • U.Alabastre, J.Legun, Zabytkowe budynki oraz budowle wodociągowe i kanalizacyjne w woj. bydgoskim, “Ekologia i Technika” 1993, no. 1.
  • K.Schade, Bromberg und alte Wasserwerk, “Bromberg”, no. 114, Wilhelmshaven 1997.
  • P.Winter, Powstanie nowoczesnego systemu wodno-kanalizacyjnego w Bydgoszczy (lata 1881-1920), [in:] Historia wodociągów i kanalizacji w Bydgoszczy, Bydgoszcz 2011.
  • Architectural monument record sheet, 1995.

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1899-1900 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gdańska 242, Bydgoszcz
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Bydgoszcz, commune Bydgoszcz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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