The former Provincial Commission and Tribunal building, Suwałki
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The former Provincial Commission and Tribunal building

Suwałki

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The former Provincial Commission and Tribunal building is one of the most important public buildings in Suwałki and a silent witness of the town’s complex history. Its distinguishing feature is the outstanding artistic value of its quality Classicist design, dating back to the early 19th century. To use the words of Anna Czapska, a renowned researcher into the history of architecture: The anonymous author of this edifice was well-acquainted with the forms and principles of the Classical architecture, so frequently applied during that period; as a result, the Commission building is characterised by a well-proportioned outline and quality detailing.

History

The former Provincial Commission and Tribunal building consists of a pair of two-storey, cuboid buildings positioned at a right angle towards one another, forming part of the frontages of the Kościuszki and Chłodna streets respectively. In 1816, Suwałki became the new capital of the Augustów province. The provincial authorities established themselves inside a two-storey masonry building positioned at the corner of Chłodna street, which was known as Sejneńska street at the time. In 1819, the funds provided by the municipal authorities led to the purchase of the plot of land where this building was situated, allowing it to be extended towards Kościuszki street. The edifice was redesigned once again in 1927, when the edifice began to serve as the State Academy of Crafts; the gateway positioned on the tenth axis of the façade was bricked up, with a new access gate being added on the fourth axis from the west. During that period, two back buildings which served as school workshops were erected in the back yard. Parts of the building positioned alongside Kościuszki street was also used as an office space and a printing house. After 1945, the ground-floor section of the western part of the building became an outpatient clinic, while the Municipal Financial Department established its offices on the first floor. In 1981, the first floor was taken over by the Civic Militia (MO) - the communist-era counterpart of the modern police. In the 1990s, the premises were occupied by various private sector companies. Until 1994, the building facing Chłodna street served as a Secondary Technical School of Mechanics. After the year 2000, the original gateway was reopened, with an additional entrance being added at the corner of the structure. Currently, the building is private property which serves both residential and commercial purposes.

Description

The building is positioned at the junction of the Kościuszki and Chłodna streets, forming part of the city block located between the Kościuszki, Chłodna, Noniewicza and Waryńskiego streets, in the immediate vicinity of the Park of the Constitution of May 3.

It was designed in the Classicist style.

It was erected on a floor plan consisting of a pair of rectangles, its body formed by a pair of two-storey, cuboid sections positioned at a right angle towards one another. A back building adjoins the section of the structure which faces Chłodna street. The building is made of brick, its walls covered with plaster. The roofs of the edifice are of the gable type. The north façade overlooking Chłodna street follows a nineteen-axial layout. Its truncated corner incorporates the entrance door and the balcony door above. The western façade, overlooking Kościuszki street, follows a fourteen-axial layout with a three-axial pseudo-avant-corps adorned with three pairs of pilasters positioned at the first-floor level and crowned with a triangular pediment. The wide entrance door, topped with a round arch, is flanked by a pair of rectangular side entrances; this design, however, is the result of alteration works carried out in the modern times. Initially the main entrance was rectangular in shape, its width identical to that of the other windows. The lower level of the façades is adorned with simple rustication in the form of horizontal grooves; the upper section of the façades, on the other hand, features a cornice running at the window sill level as well as a simplified entablature above the windows. The windows themselves are adorned with decorative surrounds.

The historic monument can be visited from the outside.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 23-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Studia i materiały do dziejów Suwalszczyzny, J. Antoniewicz (ed.), Białystok 1965, pp. 215, 219.
  • Suwałki miasto nad Czarną Hańczą, J. Kopciał (ed.), Suwałki 2005, pp. 111, 120, 247, 254-9, 838, fig. p. 111.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1. poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościuszki 74, Suwałki
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district Suwałki, commune Suwałki
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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