City hall with fence, Słupsk
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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An exceptional example of a grand public building erected at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, with surviving architectural detailing, unique period interior fittings and a fence which remains stylistically consistent with the rest of the design. From the moment it was built, the structure performs the same function, housing the offices of the magistrate.

History

In 1897, a competition for the design of the new city hall, intended to replace the existing city hall built in 1789 and located on the Old Market Square in Słupsk was held at the initiative of Hans Matthes, the erstwhile mayor of Słupsk. In April 1899, the construction of the new magistrate building began, based on the design by Karl Zaar, an architect, and Rudolf Vahl from Berlin, a construction engineer, who received the primary award in the competition. The new city hall was built next to a large square known as the Wollmarkt (the Wool Market), subsequently renamed Stefans-Platz, which until around the middle of the 19th century was little but a piece of marshland located ahead of the New Gate. The new city hall was opened on July 4, 1901,

the costs of its construction having doubled compared to the original plans - instead of the 300 thousand marks allocated by the City Council, the building cost 600 thousand marks. The interiors of the new building were designed with meticulous attention to detail and featured wooden wainscoting, decorative coffered and beamed ceilings, furniture designed specifically for the city hall, gas chandeliers (subsequently converted to electricity), wallpapers, painted wall decorations and historical paintings by Joseph Scheurenberg and Friedrich Klein-Chevalier, two artists from Berlin who also held the title of professor, as well as stained glass windows from the workshops of Didden and Busch, Martin Riegelmann and Albert Luthi. A fence was erected along with the city hall itself, also designed by Karl Zaar and Rudolf Vahl, who won the design competition.

The building suffered virtually no damage during the war and on August 10, 1945 was taken over by the Municipal Administration of the City of Słupsk. In 1950, the city hall restaurant (which existed in its lower ground floor section ever since the city hall itself was built) was converted into a library, while in 1971 its function was changed once again into that of a Wedding Palace.

Description

The city hall is a free-standing structure, positioned centrally in the western frontage of the Victory Square on the south-western side of the New Gate. The plot on which the building was erected is separated from other plots of land in the north and the south with a fence, which features a pair of gates with smaller wicket gates in the eastern section thereof, positioned on both sides of the city hall.

The city hall was designed in the Gothic Revival style, although it also incorporates elements of the Art Nouveau style.

The shape of the floor plan of the building resembles the letter “C”, with the main body of the building located in the east (front section of the city hall) and two wings in the north and south. The city hall is a three-storey building with a look-out basement; it features a complex shape consisting of a number of distinct sections, all of them covered with gable roofs. The main body features a one-and-a-half-bay layout with an asymmetrically positioned avant-corps incorporating the entrance leading into a grand hallway inside. The roof ridge of the centre section of the building is positioned in parallel to the frontage line, whereas the roof ridges of both side sections are positioned perpendicularly to the said line. A tall tower built on a rectangular plan rises above the main entrance, its design reminiscent of a fortified structure. The side wings also feature a one-and-a-half-bay layout, with a two-and-a-half-bay layout in the western section. The western side of the building has pronounced gables.

The building is made of brick. The facades feature exposed brick with plastered sections. The surrounds of door and window openings as well as the corners and detailing are made of profiled bricks or glazed shaped sections. The windows and doors are topped with segmental arches, although some of them feature pointed arches instead; the windows come equipped with slanting sills covered with glazed tiles.

The front (eastern) facade features the greatest amount of detailing; it follows a nine-axis, asymmetrical design and consists of four symmetrical segments. The segments located at the edges of the facade (following a two- and three-axis design respectively) are crowned with decorative gables, partitioned vertically by pinnacles into a series of individual sections adorned with blind windows and topped with triangular gablets. The middle segment (incorporating the third, fourth and fifth axis of the facade) incorporates pointed-arch recesses with splayed reveals in the ground floor section, each of them containing a large window. Above a broad pent roof there are two storeys with plaster-covered walls, topped with a crenellated attic and covered by a gable roof with triangular dormer windows. The next segment in line is the massive tower on the sixth axis of the front facade, incorporating a pointed-arch portal flanked by a pair of pinnacles on the ground floor level; the topmost level features faux machicolation and a loggia with crenellated balustrade and is crowned with a gable roof with a lantern topped with a bulbous cupola.

The south and north facades are asymmetrical and follow a twelve-axis design. Both of them are divided into two distinct segments: the western, seven-axis segment with plaster-covered walls and the eastern segment featuring exposed bricks. All windows in these sections are topped with segmental arches. The southern facade features a trigonal turret positioned on the eight axis and a balcony resting on corbels, positioned on the ninth axis. The eastern part of the northern facade is flanked by a pair of pinnacles.

The western facade of the main body (the rear facade) follows an eight-axis asymmetrical design with a wide avant-corps with clipped corners positioned on the second axis and housing a staircase. The walls of the avant-corps are pierced by five rows of tall windows; the avant-corps is crowned with faux battlements and a wall dormer positioned on its axis, adorned by four pinnacles.

The western facades of the wings of the city hall follow a three-axis design and are topped with gables.

The city hall also features a brick fence, its style consistent with that of the building itself; it is adorned with rooflets and decorative patterns made of glazed brick mouldings. In the east, the wall incorporates two monumental gates with smaller wicket gates at their sides, flanking the front facade of the city hall. The fence then turns at a right angle and runs along the south and north boundaries of the plot of land on which the city hall stands - initially taking the form of tall arcades crowned with pinnacles, and then - a low wall with posts topped with rooflets.

The two gateways are topped with pointed arches and crowned with gables incorporating circular blind windows. Seven pinnacles rise above the northern gable, two of them octagonal in shape, crowned with glazed rooflets with finials and flanking the gable. The remaining pinnacles are smaller, rising above the gable in a stepped arrangement. The wicket gate openings are topped with segmental arches; the wall among them is covered with a gable rooflet and features two narrow pointed-arch openings. The gates and wicket gates themselves as well as the individual spans of the fence are pieces of wrought-iron grid with Art Nouveau decoration.

The interiors of the city hall have retained their original layout as well as much of the authentic period interior fittings. The main entrance leads through a sumptuously decorated vestibule (which contains a stained glass window and two paintings by Friedrich Klein-Chevalier positioned in pointed-arch recesses) into a grand hall with a stellar vault supported by six stone columns; the stained glass in the tripartite window originates from the Berlin workshop of Didden and Busch. The corridor leading off the hall features a double barrel vault and painted floral decorations. The president’s office, located on the first floor, features a beamed ceiling, period wainscoting and wallpaper designed to resemble cordwain as well as stained glass windows in the annex. Other notable interiors include the boardroom with decorative wainscoting, a series of stained glass windows (made by Martin Riegelmann in Berlin) and a lavishly decorated ceiling with coffers incorporating painted Art Nouveau ornaments positioned at its edges. Another meeting room is located on the second floor, in the north-eastern corner. It is notable for its grandeur, including the lavish wood-carved decorations; stained glass adorns every window, while two monumental paintings with a historical theme, executed by Joseph Scheurenberg, adorn the walls of the room. The southern part of the lower ground floor contains the so-called Wedding Palace (originally the city hall restaurant) with some preserved original interior fittings (the beamed ceiling and wall paintings executed on plaster).

Limited access to the historic building. The public sections of the city hall (the vestibule, the hall, the staircase and corridors) can be viewed during the opening hours of the Municipal Office in Słupsk.

Complied by: Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 07.08.2014.

Bibliography

  • Stachlewski W., Słupski przewodnik turystyczny, Słupsk 2000.
  • Szpilewski S., Zabytki Słupska, Słupsk 2000.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: koniec XIX w. - początek XX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Zwycięstwa 3, Słupsk
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Słupsk, commune Słupsk - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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