Building of the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences, currently seat of the Society and offices, Poznań
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Building of the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences, currently seat of the Society and offices



The buildings of the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences was erected in two stages, according to the designs by eminent architects: Zygmunt Gorgolewski and Roger Sławski. Its front façade dominates against the background of the surrounding buildings and is an examples of high-class architecture, reminiscent of Renaissance and Baroque solutions. The building is a seat for a scientific institution, with its own library and museum collections, and constitutes a historical evidence of the efforts taken in the nineteenth century to create a university in Poznań and make the capital city of Greater Poland a scientific centre, which in 1857 led to the establishment of the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences, which has associated, during more than 150 years of is existence, many outstanding scientists working in various fields.

The historical building is located in the area designated as a monument of history (“Poznań - the historical urban complex” - Regulation of the President of the Republic of Poland of 28-11-2008).


The Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences was established in 1857 together with the Museum of Polish and Slavic Antiquities. Initially, both institutions did not have their own seat and in order to carry out their activities, they used premises rendered available to them first in the Raczyński Library (until 1870), and then, for a short time, in the Bazar building.

In 1870, in connection with the purchase, by count Seweryn Mielżyński, of the collection of paintings by Edward Rastawiecki, which was donated to the Society, the idea to build a permanent seat came to life again. To do so, count Mielżyński purchased a brick house with a garden at Młyńska Street (currently S. Mielżyńskiego Street), and he entrusted the design works to a young architect, Zygmunt Gorgolewski. In the years 1874-1881, deep within the plot, behind the front house, two wings (northern and western one) were built from the funds of count Mielżyński and public contributions, which were to house the seat of the Society, and its museum and library collections.

In 1881, after the two newly built wings had been finished and commissioned, works on the conversion of the front building were commenced, also according to a design by Z. Gorgolewski (the construction works were carried out by the Ballenstaedts under the supervision of Marian Cybulski), which ended in 1882. The architect has designed a building with a very interesting front façade, reminiscent in style to the Italian palazzi of the quanttrocenta period. Its three-axis façade with distinct horizontal partitions marked with string courses and rows of windows was rusticated along the whole height, topped with a sumptuous corbel cornice and a baluster parapet, in the middle of which there was an inscription "Society of Friends of Sciences". The main entrance was positioned in the eastern section of the ground storey, topped with a semi-circular pediment with a relief depiction of an owl inside.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the existing buildings were no longer sufficient and a need for extending them occurred. The works were carried out in the years 1907-1909 according to a design by Roger Sławski, upon prior purchase of the adjacent, eastern plot for that purpose. The northern and eastern wings were also erected at that time, and the front building was entirely converted - it was provided with a monumental front façade with a gate on the axis leading to an enclosed yard. On the ground floor of the new building, there was a meeting room, and on the upper storeys of the front section - apartments for rent. The museum collections were moved to the northern wing, where on the upper storey there was a painting gallery, illuminated through a glazed roof.


The building of the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences is located in the historic centre of the city, at S. Mielżyńskiego Street, on its northern side.

The building was erected in two stages: in the years 1874-1881, west and north-western wings were built, and in the years 1907-1909, northern and eastern ones, and the front tenement house, in the place of the earlier one, that of 1882.

Individual wings, circumscribing the central yard of irregular shape, were built on rectangular floor plans of different dimensions. They are made of brick and plastered. Their bodies are cuboid and differ in height (those on the west and south are higher). The front building is covered with a hip roof clad with roof tiles, and other wings with flat or gable roofs.

Façades of the internal wings, partially rusticated, feature variegated decoration in Renaissance Revival and Baroque Revival style, with dominating motifs of arcades with semi-circular top sections and high window openings in the western section, and pilasters in the northern section. On the axis of the northern wing built during the both stages of construction, there is a monumental, two-storey portal with a shallow balcony on the first floor, crowned with a triangular pediment.

The front façade of the front wing is most impressive of all - it features Renaissance Revival and Baroque Revival forms and was designed by Roger Sławski. The façade has two storeys and seven axes, and is topped with a triangular pediment with a pronounced, mitred cornice, flanked with pairs of vases. Inside the pediment, there is an inscription "Society of Friends of Sciences". In the façade of the rusticated ground floor, there are mostly wide window openings with semi-circular top sections, topped with false voussoirs. Vertical partitions are marked by monumental pilasters in the giant order, connecting the second and the third storey, and horizontal partitions - by string courses. The rectangular window openings feature diverse surrounds in the form of plane profiles topped with false voussoirs and sumptuous triangular, semi-oval, and divided pediments. Pairs of rectangular windows of the top storey are separated by flattened volutes. The main compositional feature of the front façade is the monumental, two-storey portal on the axis, flanked with engaged piers and topped with a divided pediment, embracing the central window of the second storey, flanked with volutes and closed in the top section with a divided pediment with a coat of arms cartouche.

On internal façades, there are numerous commemorative plaques and medallions, associated, among other things, with the history of the Society, and devoted to eminent persons in its history, e.g. August Cieszkowski, Heliodor Święcicki, Prof. Józef Kostrzewski.

The collections of the former Miełżyński Museum, originally exposed in the galleries of the Society's building, were partially robbed by Germans during World War II. Surviving objects are stored in Poznań museums, inter alia the National Museum in Poznań.

The monument is accessible to visitors. More information on the history and current activities of the Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences can be found at (access date: 31-10-2014).

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznań, 31-10-2014.


  • Atlas architektury Poznania, Poznań 2008, s. 199.
  • Ostrowska-Kębłowska Z, Architektura i budownictwo w Poznaniu w latach 1780-1880, Poznań 2009, s. 433-441.
  • Skuratowicz J., Architektura Poznania 1890-1918, s. 248-249.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: l. 1874-1881
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: S. Mielżyńskiego 27/29, Poznań
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district Poznań, commune Poznań
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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