The Zawada waterworks complex, Karchowice
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The Zawada waterworks complex



The complex is a unique example of an industrial monument which illustrates the development of water supply technology ushered in by the rapid pace of urbanisation and industrialisation in the late 19th and early 20th century in Upper Silesia. Due to its extraordinary nature, the complex enjoys the status of a regional landmark. Notable features of the complex include its overall spatial layout, which attained its current form in the 1920s and which has changed very little since that time, as well as the preserved uniform ensemble of buildings designed in the historicist and functionalist styles and the unique preserved fixtures and fittings in the form of steam installations and machinery.


The establishment of the waterworks was the direct consequence of the problem of insufficient supply of drinking water, brought about by the falling water table and the increasing degree of contamination of surface waters resulting from the ever-intensifying industrial and mining operations. In 1880, the Zawada State Waterworks were established in the area surrounding the water intake points near Karchowice and Zawada. Initially, the waterworks consisted solely of the water intake point and distribution system. In 1895, the pressing need for a new, steam-driven pumping station necessitated the construction of part of the existing, historicist complex, including the machine hall, the boiler house, the residential and office building and the warehouse. Later on, the facility was substantially extended in the years 1927-1929, when some of the systems were converted from steam to electric power. The machine hall and boiler house buildings underwent alteration works, while a number of new, functionalist structures were erected from the ground up, including the workshops with motor car garages and warehouse, the bath house, the switching station and the transformer station as well as another building combining residential and utility functions.


The Zawada waterworks complex is situated in Karchowice, a village located north of Gliwice and east of Pyskowice, by the road connecting Bytom and Pyskowice, in the vicinity of the Sroczka river mouth, which flows into the larger Drama river. The individual buildings are arranged in an informal manner, to the east and the west of the main, cobbled road leading along the north-south axis and then turning eastwards, with the entire complex being surrounded by purposeful plantings of trees and shrubs. The complex itself is characterised by the diversity of forms and sizes of individual buildings, which nevertheless follow a largely uniform style and structural principles despite the differences in their functions and date of construction. A small, brick porter’s lodge designed in the modernist style and erected on a roughly semicircular plan is located by the entrance gate. The largest building in the entire complex is the modernist machine hall and boiler house, consisting of two wings positioned near the street as well as alongside the main internal road. The building in its current form dates back to the 1920s, when the original, historicist machine hall was extended and redesigned. Inside, the building contains numerous original fixtures and fittings, including the historic water-tube boilers, steam and turbine pumps as well as a system of steam compressors and condensation devices from the 1920s. The structure is linked to a free-standing industrial chimney, towering above the entire complex. A row of smaller structures positioned on the north-south axis, including a historicist administrative building with a timber-framed upper storey as well as the former bathhouse and horse stable buildings (both of which are made of brick) can be seen east of the machine hall and boiler house complex. An extensive complex of workshops and storage facilities dating back to the 1920s and comprising numerous structures of different shapes and sizes is located in the northern part of the site. The western part of the complex features the switching station and transformer station buildings, both of which are examples of the modernist style.

The historic monument is accessible to visitors. The site forms part of the Industrial Monument Trail of the Silesian province.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 13-10-2014.


  • Record sheets of monuments of architecture, prepared by Ł. Konarzewski, P. Wybraniec (1990), Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice:
  • The “Zawada” State Waterworks Complex, currently known as the “Zawada” Water Supply Facility
  • The machine hall and boiler house complex of the “Zawada” Water Supply Facility
  • The residential building, currently serving as the administrative and office building and laboratory facility
  • The former bathhouse, currently serving as the storage facility of the “Zawada” Water Supply Facility
  • The former stable and warehouse, currently serving as the electrical workshop of the “Zawada” Water Supply Facility
  • The warehouse, mechanical workshop and garages of the “Zawada” Water Supply Facility
  • The porters’ lodge of the “Zawada” Water Supply Facility
    • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006, pp. 385.

    General information

    • Type: industrial architecture
    • Chronology: 1895 r.
    • Form of protection: register of monuments
    • Address: Bytomska 6, Karchowice
    • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district tarnogórski, commune Zbrosławice
    • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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