Caro Villa, currently: branch of the Museum, Gliwice
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Caro Villa, currently: branch of the Museum

Gliwice

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A representative example of an eclectic town villa from the late 19th century, connected with the factory owner Oscar Caro, who has rendered numerous services to Upper Silesia. It is also one of the best-preserved buildings of this type in the region. The structure, having a distinct style, has partially preserved its original form; most importantly, the interior design has largely remained unchanged. This makes the monument one of the most valuable examples of representative architecture from the late 19th century and early 20th century in the city and in the whole region.

History

The villa was built in the years 1882—1885, probably according to a design by Salomon Lubowski ordered by Oscar Caro, a manufacturer from Gliwice who owned it until 1916. The original borders of the plot of land reached Zwycięstwa Street on the south-east side and Wyszyńskiego Street on the north-east side, however, as the streets were laid out, the area was substantially reduced. An orangery was built onto the villa in 1899-1900. In the 1920s, probably after the building became the property of the Industriebau company, the villa was extended and modified: another storey was added, the roof structure was replaced, reinforced concrete ceilings were constructed, the interior was partially modified, etc. In 1934, the building was taken over by the city, which adapted it for the seat of the Upper Silesian Museum. During renovations carried out in the 1960s, some of the original interior elements and fireplaces were dismantled. In the 1970s, two buildings associated with the villa — a carriage house and a gatehouse — were pulled down. Renovation and restoration works were also carried out in the 1990s: the ceilings were reinforced or replaced, the interiors of an upper storey and the cellar were modified, the roof structure was replaced, and a new staircase leading to the uppermost storeys was constructed.

Description

The villa is situated in the centre of Gliwice, on a small plot of land at the intersection of Dolnych Wałów Street and Studzienna Street. It is surrounded by a garden enclosed with an old fence.

The free-standing building, made of brick and plastered, has a Renaissance Revival character. Built on an irregularly-shaped plan, approximating letter “L”, the two-storeyed, asymmetric structure is covered with a hip roof. It features avant-corpses and terraces. All façades are Renaissance Revival in character; they have an individuated, rusticated socle level, horizontal divisions in the form of string courses and crowning cornices, window openings surmounted by triangular pediments, and decorative window surrounds. The corners of the avant-corpses have decorative rusticated finishes.

The interior layout is irregular, partially modified. The rooms on the ground floor, arranged into two suites in the main part and into one suite in the north avant-corps, are particularly valuable due to the partially preserved design from the early 20th century.

In the impressive main hall, there is a representative staircase featuring unique, elegant stairs, decorated with a sculpture of a griffin holding a shield with an “O.C.” monogram, and the original ceiling, wainscoting, door woodwork, and woodcarving. In the enfilade, there is the so-called Grand Parlour with the original Renaissance Revival, coffer ceiling, neighbouring a winter garden and the Little Parlour (boudoir) in the corner. The original ceiling preserved in the Little Parlour features eclectic stucco decorations. In the southern suite of rooms, there is also the so-called Host Room covered with the original, Renaissance Revival ceiling, and the so-called Host Museum (originally: a billiard room) with a ceiling adorned with classicist paintings. In the north avant-corps, there is the former dining room with an eclectic interior design bearing Italian Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance features, including the wainscoting and the ceiling adorned with stucco decorations and a painting on canvas. On the first floor, which underwent certain modifications, there is a hall with an original wooden ceiling and a balustrade, communicated with the former bedroom, the former boudoir, and the Family Parlour. The rooms on the second floor are modern in character.

The historic monument is accessible. The building houses a branch of the Museum in Gliwice.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 12-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Kwiecień A., Willa Oscara Caro jako muzeum wnętrz, Rocznik Muzeum w Gliwicach, T. XVI, Gliwice 2001, s. 21-33.
  • Kwiecień A., Wystawa stała: wnętrza mieszkalne willi górnośląskich przemysłowców, Rocznik Muzeum w Gliwicach, T. XVI, Gliwice 2001, s. 71-83.
  • Malusecki B., Willa Caro - zarys aktualnego stanu wiedzy, Rocznik Muzeum w Gliwicach, T. XVI, Gliwice 2001, s. 9-17.
  • Przybył G., Ostrowski S., Remont willi Caro, Rocznik Muzeum w Gliwicach, T. XVI, Gliwice 2001, s. 37-51.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, red. S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen, Warszawa 2006, s. 265-266.

General information

  • Type: villa
  • Chronology: 1882-1885
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Dolnych Wałów 8a, Gliwice
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Gliwice, commune Gliwice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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