The Ficinus workers’ colony, Ruda Śląska
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The Ficinus workers’ colony

Ruda Śląska

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The “Ficinus” workers’ colony is an example of a small, compact residential complex which demonstrates an outstanding consistency in spatial terms. The historic buildings forming part of the complex, more than 90% of which has been preserved intact, present a considerable architectural and historical value both individually and as an urban complex. Together, they form one of the oldest examples of a company town in Upper Silesia, with the entire complex being designed as a response to the growing demand for housing in the 19th century.

History

Initially, the Wirek district started its life as a village accompanying the Kochłowice district; it was only in 1743 that it attained the status of a separate settlement known as Neudorf. During the first half of the 19th century, under the ownership of Łazarz Henkel von Donnersmarck, the area became an industrial district. The “Ficinus’’ colony, formed in 1867, was designed to accommodate the workers of the nearby “Gottessegen” mining facility, established on March 27, 1802, which remained in operation until the 1930s, when the Andrzej and Artur shafts were put out of use in 1926 and 1931 respectively. The Lech shaft, however, was not shut down and was acquired by the Godula company, which maintained its own mining facility likewise called “Lech”. In 1996, the utility buildings which accompanied the residential structures were dismantled due to their poor technical condition. The colony is one of the oldest of its kind in the entire province. Towards the end of the 1990s, the colony underwent a comprehensive restoration, regaining its former glory.

Description

The “Ficinus’’ colony is a complex of 16 free-standing residential buildings forming part of the northern frontage of Kubiny street. The complex is situated in Wirek - the central district of Ruda Śląska, bordering with allotment gardens to the west, another housing estate to the north and the south as well as an Augsburg Evangelical church to the east.

The housing estate was designed on a rectangular plan, its longer side positioned along the east-west axis; the total surface of the estate is more than 0.9 hectares. The Osiedlowa, Krasińskiego, Kubiny and Różyckiego serve as the northern, eastern, southern and western boundaries of the colony. The layout of the housing estate is centred around the use of low, four-family semi-detached houses positioned in a side-gabled arrangement vis-à-vis the road. Initially, the residential buildings were accompanied by small, two-storey utility building positioned in parallel to the houses themselves; these now-defunct buildings, designed on a rectangular floor plan and colloquially referred to as “pigsties”, were positioned at the southern ends of the individual plots of land. The individual houses are similar in both form and layout, having been designed as simple, two-storey buildings erected on a rectangular floor plan, with basements and small annexes abutting on their gable-end walls.

The use of a single type of building material in the form of sandstone as well as the incorporation of plain decorative detailing in the form of red ceramic brick accentuating the individual windows ensure the visual consistency of the entire complex. The main body of each house is covered with a low gable roof and consists of two identical parts. The annexes adjoining the western and eastern sides of the houses are covered with shed roofs and mostly serve as connecting sections, facilitating access to the staircase in the northern part of each house. The individual rooms of the houses all feature flat ceilings, with the exception of the barrel vaults in the cellars, accessible from the northern side. During the recent years, the complex underwent a comprehensive revitalisation programme, resulting in the slight changes in the height and architectural articulation of individual storeys, with some of the buildings now also serving commercial and service functions in addition to purely residential ones.

Private property. The colony complex can only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 14-10-2015.

Bibliography

  • Florkowsak L., Uszkodzenia budynków i deformacje terenu wywołane eksploatacją górniczą w silnie naruszonym górotworze w dzielnicy Wirek w Rudzie Śląskiej, [in:] Górnictwo i Geoinżynieria, Vol. 34, issue 2, Cracow 2010, pp. 265-273
  • Jaros J., Słownik historycznych kopalń węgla na ziemiach polskich, Katowice 1984, pp. 32-33
  • Szafer A., Ruda Śląska - zarys rozwoju miasta, Katowice 1970
  • Historyczne Osiedla Robotnicze, G. Bożek (ed.), Katowice 2005, p. 18
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, Ch. Nielsen, G. Grajewski, D. Popp, Warsaw 2006, p. 745
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture and urban design. Workers’ colony, 4-43 Kubiny street, compiled by E. Podbiał, H. Wiąk-Marzec
  • Ruda Śląska - ekspertyza konserwatorska. Vol. VI - Wirek, compiled by E. Bergman, J. Giermański,
  • A. Holeczko, B. Małusecki, Warsaw 1987, p. 12 (available at the Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice, file no. 3011/VI)

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: 1867
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kubiny 4-34, Ruda Śląska
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Ruda Śląska, commune Ruda Śląska
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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