Sawmill, currently seat of the Centre for Technology and Regional Development – Museum of Modernity, Olsztyn
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Sawmill, currently seat of the Centre for Technology and Regional Development – Museum of Modernity



The former sawmill building is today the last industrial structure situated at the bend of the Łyna River (south-east of the historic Old Town), where an industrial district was located in the latter part of the 19th century. It is also one of few industrial heritage buildings preserved in Olsztyn, and the last historic sawmill building in the city. As a result of revitalisation work carried out in 2011-2013, its historic and functional character was preserved and highlighted; remains of machinery were also exposed inside.


The sawmill was built ca. 1884 by Louis Raphaelsohn. The plant was built at the bend of the Łyna, where several industrial plants were situated in the second half of the 19th century, including two breweries, a machine factory, municipal gas plant, and a vinegar and mustard factory. The sawmill building was surrounded by storage yards and a basin facilitating the delivery of timber floated down the Łyna to the sawmill. The plant was later expanded: in 1884-1885, the office annex was attached to the main building, and in 1892-1895 a workshop was added. In 1929, the sawmill plot together with the buildings was bought by the city and handed over to the Municipal Services Company which had previously occupied a neighbouring plot, where the gas plant was located. In 1929-1923, the sawmill was converted owing to a change of use, which included the removal of machinery and demolition of the chimney.

The building survived World War II. In the following years, it was used by the Municipal Transport Company as a welfare facility for its personnel, with an extensive sanitary block and offices. For this purpose, the building was converted in 1957. In 1974, the building was taken over by the Municipal Utility Company. In 1987, the building was taken out of use. In 2007, the former sawmill was entered into the register of historic buildings. In 2011-2013, revitalisation work was carried out on the site. Currently the building accommodates the Centre for Technology and Regional Development - “Museum of Modernity” which is administered by the Municipal Cultural Centre.


The former sawmill building is situated on Knosały St., at the edge of Central Park with which it is linked by a bridge over the Łyna.

The building consists of a two-storey sawing machine hall and annexes (office building, power house - plant room, workshop). An entrance annex is now situated where a secondary annex once existed. The main body of the building (sawing machine hall) has been divided into two storeys: the lower one accommodated the drive transmission system and the upper one operated as a sawing machine hall. The brick powerhouse with a chimney was added to the south side of the hall, whereas the administration building with a production annex was added to the north wall.

The former sawing machine hall built on a rectangular plan features brick-filled timber framing, while the annexes are made of brick. Gable roofs covered with ceramic tiles, flat roofs covered with roofing felt. Wooden structural floors; wooden windows of contemporary manufacture referring to the historic ones, and plastic windows imitating industrial windows. Attached to the south façade is a brick secondary chimney (relocated from another historic structure). The relocated chimney was erected where the original sawmill chimney once stood.

In the course of the revitalisation process conducted in 2011-2013, secondary annexes were demolished, elements already non-existent were made visible, both indoors (traces and remains of machinery, including flywheel grease), and in the immediate vicinity of the building (cobblestone paving). In addition, the successive reconstruction phases were made visible in the façade of the sawmill building by using different types and colours of joints. Building interiors have been converted, adjusted to new uses, including exhibition space (former sawing machine hall).

The site is administered by the Municipal Cultural Centre in Olsztyn. It is accessible during working hours of that institution and additionally during events held there.

Compiled by Adam Płoski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 09-09-2014.


  • A. Płoski, M. Szymaniuk, Budynek tartaku (ob. nieużytkowany) przy ul. Knosały w Olsztynie, Karta ewidencyjna zabytków architektury i budownictwa, Olsztyn 2007
  • J. Strużyński, G. Bajer, R. Bętkowski, Badania architektoniczne uzupełniające tartaku Raphaelsohnów przy ul. R. Knosały w Olsztynie (dz. nr 17/24, obr. 65), Olsztyn 2012

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1884
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Knosały , Olsztyn
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district Olsztyn, commune Olsztyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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