Middle-class tenement house, Katowice
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Middle-class tenement house

Katowice

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The building presents a considerable architectural and artistic value, making it a historical monument of regional importance - an excellent example of a residential building designed in the Art Nouveau style, featuring sumptuous front façade decorations inspired by the morphology of an oak tree. Designed by the eminent German architect Hugo Grünfeld - the author of numerous designs for buildings erected in the city of Katowice - the tenement house forms an important part of the street frontage.

History

During the 19th century, the site of the current tenement house at 6-8 3 Maja street, also known as the “House under the Shoe” or the Kochmann House was occupied by a shoe shop maintained by Fritz Kochmann, a merchant of Jewish origin. In the early 20th century, a new tenement house was erected at his request, designed by Hugo Grünfeld (the co-owner of the Ignatz Grünfeld Baugescheft construction company) and combining residential and commercial functions. The house at number 6 was erected in 1903 and was extended westwards four years later, with the new section of the frontage bearing the number 8. In 2004, the tenement house underwent a comprehensive restoration due to poor technical condition. In years 2013-2014, construction works were conducted inside the inner yard, resulting in an upwards extension of the underlying structure by a single storey.

Description

The tenement house is situated in the Katowice city centre, forming part of the tightly clustered southern frontage of the 3 Maja street. It is located in the vicinity of the market square, east of the railway station.

The tenement house, designed in the Art Nouveau style by Hugo Grünfeld, was erected on a roughly L-shaped floor plan, consisting of the main building and the back building in the southern part of the lot. Due to the fact that the structure has been extended shortly after the construction thereof, the individual parts of the structure are slightly different in terms of overall style, with the older section at no. 6 exhibiting certain Gothic Revival influences, whereas the more recent part at no. 8 incorporating evident modernist inspirations. The four-storey brick building is covered with a gable roof and consists of a number of distinct sections. The façades are lined with clinker brick, with red and white brick used for the front (northern) façade and the rear (southern) façade respectively, the latter also adorned with green glazed ceramic decorations. The front façade can be divided into two sections; the three-axial eastern section is topped with a decorative gable and features a central oriel incorporating a stacked arrangement of loggias at the third- and fourth-storey level, supported by decorative corbels. A distinctive feature of this section is the presence of sumptuous foliate decorations incorporating an oak tree motif, adorning the loggias, the panels beneath the windows, the entrance portal and the gable, with a similar motif also applied to the foliate frieze. The western section, on the other hand, follows a five-axial layout, with the most distinctive stylistic feature thereof being a semicircular, the-axial oriel at the third and fourth-storey level. The doors and windows are topped with segmental arches, with the exception of the massive, rectangular display windows at the ground floor level (eastern section) and the even larger display windows in the western section, spanning two storeys and being likewise entirely rectangular in shape. The rear façade follows a twelve-axial layout and features simple decorations in the form of strips designed to resemble a cornice running beneath the windows as well as of green glazed brick detailing. A semicircular staircase avant-corps projects from the third axis of the southern façade of the back building. Most of the original interior fixtures and fittings - with the exception of a few tiled stoves - have regrettably been lost; another notable period feature is the preserved ceramic tiles in the vestibule. The inner yard has been completely remodelled in recent years, its surface now being positioned at the first-floor level and punctuated with a number of glazed cuboid structures designed to provide illumination for the space beneath.

The building can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 28-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Tenement house, compiled by M. Błahut, S. Łabuz, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Borowik A., Słownik architektów, inżynierów i budowniczych związanych z Katowicami w okresie międzywojennym, Katowice 2012, pp. 51-52
  • Klajmon B., Katowicka kamienica mieszczańska: 1840-1918: Śródmieście, Katowice 1997, p. 104.

General information

  • Type: tenement house
  • Chronology: 1903 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: 3 Maja 6-8, Katowice
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Katowice, commune Katowice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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