Barracks Complex, former School of Non-Commissioned Officers (Koenigliche Unteroffizier Schule), Kwidzyn
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Barracks Complex, former School of Non-Commissioned Officers (Koenigliche Unteroffizier Schule)

Kwidzyn

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The complex of the former School of Non-Commissioned Officers is a valuable example of Gothic Revival military architecture with a rich form and decoration, forming a homogenous and spatially compact layout.

History

After the reunification of Germany, the war contribution paid by France was used to begin the construction of the Royal School of Non-Commissioned Officers in Kwidzyn between Grudziądzka Street (former Graudenzerstrasse) and 11 Listopada Street (former Keiserstrasse) in the middle of 1876. The construction work was completed after three years. The newly built complex of architecturally consistent buildings consisted of staff building, barracks, guardhouse, sports hall, riding-school, and field hospital, among others. The School of Non-Commissioned Officers was opened on 1 October 1879; it had about 20 officers and 50 non-commissioned officers, and four companies of auditors-NCO candidates aged 17 to 20 years. In 1919, under the Treaty of Versailles the school was dissolved; by that time, it educated around 6,500 military professionals. In 1920, Kwidzyn became a garrison town, with a battalion from Silesia stationed in the buildings of the former school of non-commissioned officers; therefore, the buildings began to be called the “barracks of Silesians” (Schlesier Kaserne). In 1940-1945, the complex again housed a school of non-commissioned officers. After 1945, the barracks were occupied by the Russian troops. Between 1951 and the early 1990s, the complex was used by the Polish Army; currently, the complex houses important offices, culture centre, institution of higher education, and services.

Description

The former Royal School of Non-Commissioned Officers is located in the southern part of the town, in the area of the historic suburbs of Graudenz (Przedmieście Grudziądzkie), on the western side of Grudządzka Street and the northern side of 11 Listopada Street. The Gothic Revival complex occupies an area approximating the shape of an elongated rectangle with truncated eastern corners (approx. 3 ha). The layout of the complex is regular and symmetrical with respect to the longer east-western axis; the structures with their roof ridgs parallel to the street are located along the boundaries of the complex (partially connected to the preserved wall); all structures flank a large inner yard with three squares: parade ground, drill ground, and manoeuvring ground. The historic complex consists of seven buildings erected in 1876-1879: staff building (located at the front, at the eastern boundary), two twin barrack buildings (at the northern and southern boundary; three-storey), sports hall (at the southern boundary), former field hospital (on the opposite side, situated furthest to the north, two-storey), riding-school (at the end of the complex, on the western side), and small guardhouse (at the southern boundary, close to the staff building). All structures are built of brick (architectural detail of glazed brick and ceramic fittings), set on a tall plinth, and feature basements and low gable roofs and hip roofs, covered with diamond-shaped sheet metal. They were built on the floor plan in the shape of elongated rectangles and are enriched with avant-corps. The façades feature neo-Gothic decorations, including pointed-arch portals and window openings, paired arched windows, massive arcaded friezes, gothicizing columns, steppedd buttresses, and crenellation motif as wall finials. The front staff building is the most spectacular structure in the complex. In terms of its form, it is reminiscent of defensive architecture in its form. It is a three-wing structure, with the outer wings being positioned at an angle of 60° towards the yard. The three-storey body is symmetrical and highly fragmented, features an overhanging top storey, a massive tower (quadrangular at the base and octagonal in the upper sections) on the axis of the front façade, is flanked by diagonal buttresses, and supported by a crenellated parapet; the corners facing the yard are framed by round and octagonal turrets. The original interior layout has been preserved; a stellar vault extends along the axis of the entrance; the corridor is topped by a groin vault or sail vault; the representative hall intended for the eyes of guests on the first floor features a coffered ceiling.

The structures serving public functions (e.g., the staff building currently used as the seat of the Municipal Office) are open to the general public; the remaining structures can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 24-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Karta ewidencyjna (tzw. biała karta): Dawna Unteroffizier Schule - Koszary wojskowe, Kwidzyn, ul. Grudziądzka 30, autor M. Jonakowski, 1995, w zbiorach OT NID w Gdańsku.
  • Kwidzyn, Dzieje miasta, t. I pod red. K. Mikulskiego i J. Liguz, Kwidzyn, 2004, s. 187-188, 303-306
  • Barganowski A., Michalik H., Przewodnik po Powiślu. Powiat kwidzyński, Kwidzyn 2007, s. 85

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Grudziądzka 30, 11 Listopada 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29 , Kwidzyn
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district kwidzyński, commune Kwidzyn (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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