Workers’ housing estate, Ruda Śląska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Workers’ housing estate

Ruda Śląska

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The complex is a significant example of a workers’ housing estate designed by Hans von Poellnitz at the request of Franciszek von Ballestrem for the workers of the nearby mining facilities. Its preserved urban layout, substantial artistic and architectural value and spatial clarity make the entire complex a representative example of a full-fledged 20th-century company town erected in several stages.

History

The workers’ housing estate in Ruda Śląska, constructed in the early 20th century at the request of the Ballestrem family, was initially designed for the employees of the nearby mining facilities operated by the company. The task of producing and implementing the design was entrusted to Hans von Poellnitz, the director of the company’s construction department. In addition to the residential and utility buildings, the housing estate also featured a number of public buildings aimed at increasing the comfort and well-being of its residents. The buildings erected during the first phase of the project include the vocational and housekeeping school for girls (1912), positioned at the eastern end of the complex, as well as the secondary school (realschule), erected two years later in the western part of the estate. Another significant structure is the church of Our Lady of the Rosary, accompanying by a small Jesuit monastery currently serving as the rectory, positioned at the westernmost end of the complex. The church and monastery were erected back in 1869 for the funds provided by the von Ballestrem family - the founders of the housing estate. The very first residential structures along with utility buildings, linked together by connecting sections, were constructed in the year 1910, with the subsequent developments taking place in 1920, when the two-storey buildings positioned alongside the Staszica street and forming a compositional terminating vista were constructed. The entire extension scheme was completed in 1922, with the construction of the residential structures accompanying the secondary school building as well as a number of representational frontages consisting of buildings graced by decorative oriels facing the Wolności street.

Description

The housing estate, located in the southern part of Ruda Śląska, alongside the Kościelna street and Wieniawskiego street, is one of the last company-owned housing estates to be erected in the city, with a distinctive, compact and well-preserved architectural and urban layout. The buildings forming part of the housing estate are adorned with sumptuous detailing and feature a number of intriguing architectural solutions, with evident inspirations taken from the Dutch Mannerism as well as the small-town architecture of the Netherlands. The entire complex is a valuable example of a company-owned housing estate, enjoying the status of a regional landmark. The presence of an ensemble of sculptures depicting the scene of the Passion of Christ at the corner of the colony is both an interesting architectural feature and a lasting testimony to the meticulous attention to detail and the respect shown by the designers for the history of the location in which the housing estate was built.

The housing estate features a compact layout; designed on an elongated, roughly rectangular plan, the complex saw no major transformations from the moment of its construction, allowing it to retain the overall layout as well as functional and spatial divisions. The entire complex is framed by two distinctive structures - the church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the former monastery in the western part of the housing estate and the complex of public buildings in the eastern part thereof, the latter being accompanied by residential buildings in the form of three familok houses positioned alongside Wieniawskiego street, their form visibly simplified when compared to the buildings found in the middle of the housing estate. The buildings situated in the centre of the housing estate can be divided into three discrete architectural and urban complexes, originating from different phases of the project. The oldest part of the housing estate consists of eight buildings at 2, 4, 6 and 8 Kościelna street as well as 4, 6, 8 and 10 Staszica street. The buildings, erected in 1910, are linked by a small connecting structure which also serves various utility purposes, dividing the area into three independent inner courtyards. The two westernmost buildings, linked by a connecting section, are particularly important as they form the western boundary of the complex, with access between the different areas facilitated by a small, central passage with a barrel vault. The next stage in the development process took place in 1920, when eight more buildings were erected on Staszica street. These front-gabled structures, positioned at the southernmost end of the complex, feature a row of small annexes originally used as toilets and pigsties. The most recent phase of the project involved the construction of the buildings positioned alongside Wolności street, which form an example of a typical urban street frontage. The entire design is supplemented by tree plantings alongside the Kościelna and Staszica street, serving to accentuate the main view corridors. The only structures originally forming part of the complex which have not been preserved to the present day are the two free-standing baking ovens traditionally referred to as piekarnioks, which used to be a typical feature of workers’ housing estates back in the day.

It can be viewed from outside.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 22-09-2015.

Bibliography

  • Mercik H., Kolonia robotnicze w rejonie ulicy Kościelnej-Staszica-Wolności w Rudzie, dzielnicy Rudy Śląskiej, [in:] Historyczne Osiedla Robotnicze, G. Bożek (ed.), Katowice 2005, pp. 61-69
  • Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warsaw 2008, p. 744
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture and urban design. Workers’ estate - ul. Wieniawskiego 1,3,5; ul. Wolności 33,35,37,39; ul. Staszica 1-15; ul. Kościelna 2,4,6,8, compiled by E. Caban, H. Wiąk-Marzec, 1995

General information

  • Type: spatial layout
  • Chronology: 1910 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wolności, Kościelna, Stanisława Staszica, Henryka Wieniawskiego i Adama Mickiewicza , Ruda Śląska
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Ruda Śląska, commune Ruda Śląska
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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