Waterworks complex, Kościan
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The municipal waterworks complex, created in the early 20th century, has survived to this day in an almost unaltered form. Consisting of three individual structures, the complex was designed in the Historicist style and is reminiscent of Victorian Gothic Revival buildings. It forms an excellent example of the 19th-century vision of technology which places aesthetics ahead of function. The entire complex of buildings follows a model of waterworks typical of the early 20th century, forming one of the most valuable complexes of this kind anywhere in Greater Poland.

History

The problems with drinking water supply which plagued the town of Kościan back in the 19th century have led to the decision on the construction of the waterworks complex. In 1902, the search for an enterprise and an engineering bureau willing to create a water supply system for the town and erect a technologically advanced waterworks has begun. In the end, the task was entrusted to the company owned by Xawier Geisler, who had previous experience with building a central waterworks in Swarzędz. In 1906, the company began drilling for water in town and the surrounding area. Once an appropriate aquifer was located, the works have begun. The contract was signed in 1907, with construction works commencing one year later. On November 18, 1908, water flowed through the pipeline for the very first time. After the war, the old water intake proved to be insufficient to satisfy the growing needs; a new water intake had to be created, while the waterworks on Czempińska street needed to be refurbished. In years 2012-2013, comprehensive renovation and adaptation works were performed. A climbing wall, an astronomical observatory and a small conference facility were created inside the tower.

Description

The dominant feature of the entire complex is the water tower located in the north-western corner of the site. In the south-eastern section there is a single-storey building which housed the pumping station and filter station with iron removal filters, while the former house of the waterworks director is located in the north-eastern part of the site. The water tower represents a mixture of architectural styles, incorporating stylistic solutions inspired by the Victorian Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival and Romanesque Revival styles. The iconographic model which the designer of the complex clearly attempted to follow were the towers of the Tower Bridge in London. The tower was designed on a square floor plan. The ground floor section forms a massive plinth constructed using facing bricks and granite ashlar blocks, out of which rises the cuboid shaft of the tower made of brick in two contrasting colours. The bright yellow façades of the shaft are enlivened by red brick window surrounds and lesenes which accentuate the corners of the tower. The overhanging top section incorporating the water reservoir is positioned atop the shaft. The top section is supported by a brick arcaded frieze which serves as a clear separation from the shaft. The corners of the top section are accentuated by oriels resting upon squinches and topped with tall conical roofs. The tower itself is covered by a tall, four-sloped tented roof clad with monk-and-nun roof tiles. On the top of the roof there are two metal spires topped with lead spheres. The entire structure is crowned by a telescope assembly positioned on the rotating top section of the roof. Entrance to the building is effected through a projecting portal with elaborate architectural detailing. A water gauge is incorporated into the portal pediment. The building of the pumping station and filter station with iron removal filters has been partially modified since its construction. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the building features a squat gable roof and tall fractables which crown the southern and northern gables. The director’s house has been a residential building from the very beginning. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, it is a brick building with a multi-pitched roof with a jerkin head in the west. The façades of the house are faced with red brick up to the half of their height, with the upper sections covered with plaster. The façades are adorned with brick architectural detailing.

A climbing wall and an astronomical observatory operate inside the tower.

compiled by Beata Marzęta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 31.10.2014.

Bibliography

  • Kazimierz Zimniewicz /red./ Dzieje Kościana, t.1-2, Kościan 2000
  • Miron Urbaniak, Komunalne wieże ciśnień w regionie leszczyńskim, Kronika Wielkopolski, R. 2004, nr 1

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1908 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Czempińska 2, Kościan
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district kościański, commune Kościan (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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