Bath Facility, currently Balneological Facility, Sopot
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Bath Facility, currently Balneological Facility

Sopot

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The Balneological Facility is an example of resort architecture, with the function distinctive of a health resort and the Romantic Historicism form, popular in the architecture of Sopot in the 19th and 20th century. The building features neo-Renaissance, neo-Baroque, and Art Nouveau forms. It is distinguishable by its fine and picturesque architectural form, with a characteristic tower with a chimney inside which functions also as a lighthouse and a viewpoint. Particular attention should be paid to the décor of the hall with a stained glass plafond. The building is situated in the finest part of Sopot and constitutes one of the height dominants of the city. The Balneological Facility is one of the symbols of the seaside location and resort function of Sopot.

History

The curative tradition of Sopot dates back to 1824. At that time, Jerzy Haffner, a former major and surgeon in the Napoleonic Army from Alsace, erected the first brick Bath House offering warm baths. A bit later, the Spa House (with a hotel and a restaurant), a theatre, and a walking pier were built and a park was developed next to the Bath House. In the late 19th century, Sopot became a popular and dynamically developing resort. In 1901, it was granted municipal rights. In the early 20th century, the town authorities erected numerous impressive buildings in order to enrich the offer and win Sopot a reputation of one of the best European resorts. At that time, e.g. new South and North Bathhouses and the Spa House were built, and the walking pier was enlarged. In 1903-1904, a new Bath Facility was built based on the design by Paul Puchmueller and Heinrich Dunkel, architects from Sopot. The interior contained 48 treatment cubicles, including higher standard cubicles and cubicles with bathtubs for children. The Facility offered warm mud, brine, freshwater, and saltwater baths, as well as baths with conifer needles or bran. The building was heated and the curative treatment was offered also in winter. During World War II, the eastern wing was destroyed. It was reconstructed in a modern style. In 1956, the Bath Facility was converted into the Balneological Facility and was incorporated into the Jadwiga Titz-Kosko Regional Centre for Rheumatology.

Descritpion

The Balneological Facility is situated at the end of the main transport axis of the city, i.e. Bohaterów Monte Cassino street. It is located on the western side of the fine Zdrojowy Square. By the Square, there are also the Spa House (the so-called 4th Spa House), a Sheraton Hotel, and a walking pier. On the east side of the Balneological Facility, there is a seashore passage and a beach, on the south there is the South Park, and on the west the Facility is preceded by a small square with a fountain.

The building was erected in an eclectic style, with neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque traits predominating, and with elements of Art Nouveau. It was built on a “C”-shaped floor plan. The body is heavily fragmented, and comprised of three parts: the main part, including the north-western corner of the building, and three wings: the north-eastern, the western, and the southern wing. The main part of the building has one storey, and a centrally located octagonal massive tower, covered with an octagonal roof with a steeple. In three corners of the building, there are smaller two-storey towers build on a round floor plan and topped with cupolas. The western façade of that part of the building is symmetrical, with a main entrance on the axis. In the north-eastern wing of the building, there is a tall slender tower with a chimney inside, which functions also as a lighthouse and a viewpoint. The tower is topped with an overhanging lantern room functioning as an observation gallery, covered with a slender hip roof with a steeple (recently reconstructed) that covers the chimney outlet. The north-eastern, western, and southern wings have two storeys and are covered with multi-pitched roofs. In the northern and southern wings, there are decorative neo-Renaissance gables. The architectural decoration of the façade has the form of window casings, voussoirs, supports with animal motifs, shells, and obelisks. The main entrance to the building has the form of a portal designed by Fentzloff. The portal is comprised of two columns supporting entablature and a pediment with the coat of arms of Sopot. The pediment is held on its sides by sculptures of two tritons.

In the main part of the building, in the octagonal tower, there is a hall intended for the eyes of guests. Built on a square floor plan, the hall has got walls partitioned with arcades, with lavish architectural and plasterwork decoration in the form of pilasters, receded cornices, masks of women, and silhouettes of dolphins. It is covered with an octagonal eclectic and Art Nouveau stained glass plafond made by Ferdynand Mueller from Quedlinburg. In the middle of the plafond, there is an octagonal free space surrounded by a gallery. Additionally, there are also other preserved elements in the building, such as stained glass windows in the gym, stairs with decorative metal balustrade, and Art Nouveau tiles in some of the treatment cubicles.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Beata Dygulska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 12-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Domańska H., Opowieści sopockich kamienic, Gdańsk 2005, s. 156-160;
  • Dzieje Sopotu do roku 1945, pod red. B. Śliwińskiego, Gdańsk 1998, str. 39;
  • Paul Puchmueller, architekt, który przemienił Sopot w miasto (1875-1942), katalog wystawy, praca zbiorowa pod red. M. Buchholz-Todoroskiej, Sopot 2008, s. 50-53;
  • Karty ewidencyjne zabytku architektury: Zakład Balneologiczny, opr. J., P. Czyszek, 1989, Archiwum NID;

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: początek XX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Zdrojowy 3, Sopot
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Sopot, commune Sopot
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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