Townhouse, Toruń
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The townhouse exhibits many well-preserved features of the Gothic style, despite the loss of its original gable. Initially conceived as a lavishly designed townhouse of the local craftsmen’s guild, the building features tall, slender niches in its façade which are a clear reference to the design of the town hall in the Old Town district - at least from 1393 onwards, when the town hall was redesigned and attained its current appearance. The townhouse itself was one of the first buildings of its kind in Toruń that were erected in this new, nascent style.

The building is situated in the area inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list which also forms part of the monument of history designated as “Toruń - Old and New Town District”.

History

The Old Town Market Square was fully formed as an urban complex somewhere around the year 1259. Due to its representational nature, it has been decided that only brick and stone building would be erected around the square right from the start. Due to the poor exposure to sunlight, the southern frontage initially consisted of single-storey craftsmen’s townhouses. However, as the construction of the Court of Artus was completed in years 1385-86 and as the entire area was beginning to suffer from an absence of available space, the plots of land surrounding the square were merged together, with new, more impressive structures being erected there.

The first known owner of the parcel, currently designated as lot no. 9, was Bertoldus Beudeler, who held the legal title to the land in the years 1394-98. During the Middle Ages, the lot stretched all the way to Kopernika street, running in parallel to the market square frontage; the other end of the lot was occupied by a front building at 24 Kopernika street, featuring a gateway leading into the backyard. It was only in the early 19th century that the parcel was subdivided.

The existing townhouse was erected somewhere around the year 1400. Initially, the building featured a gable adorned with pinnacles which formed an extension of the profiled edges of the narrow niches that spanned the entire height of the façade. The gable was subsequently removed in 1879, with the recesses now topped with pointed arches, above which rose a plain, brick roof parapet.

Towards the end of the 17th century, the townhouse remained in the hands to Johann Augustin, the mayor of Toruń and the royal burgrave.

The most significant alterations were made in the 19th century. In addition to the aforementioned removal of the gable, the tall gable roof was also dismantled and replaced with a mono-pitched structure. In 1884, the Gothic back building was likewise demolished, its foundations serving as the basis for the construction of a new, half-timbered structure. In 1913, the longitudinal wall of the front suite of rooms at the ground-floor level was moved eastwards to make more space for the shop which occupied the western part of the premises. The former window was replaced by a larger one, intended as a shop display. During the same period, the staircase was replaced and the cellar entrance section (the so-called “cellar neck” - Kellerhals) was bricked up.

Somewhere around the year 1867, a new, lavishly decorated Baroque entrance door dating back to 1640 was added, having been salvaged from a different building. The current door is a replica of the original item, which is now deposited at the District Museum.

Description

The townhouse forms part of the northern frontage of the Market Square. It was designed on a rectangular floor plan, its interiors following a clearly defined three-bay layout. A ventilation hood designed to draw away kitchen fumes was originally located in the middle suite of rooms. The eastern section of the building serves as a shop, with the western part containing a vestibule and staircase as well as a hallway leading into the back yard. A mezzanine can be found inside the tall vestibule, rising above the front bay. A narrow side building occupies the space on the western side of the back yard, linked to the back building which takes up the entire width of the lot.

The edifice features a compact silhouette, its front and rear façades following a five- and four-storey layout respectively. The building is topped with a mono-pitched roof.

Both façades follow a single-axial layout. The western axis of the rear façade is partially obscured by the adjoining side building. Both façades are accentuated by pointed-arch niches with lavishly profiled edges, spanning the entire height of the structure. The innermost profiles of each of the niches join together at the top to form paired, pointed arches. The ground-floor level is preceded by a flight of steps. A wide, rectangular display window incorporating a shop entrance door is positioned on the western axis of the façade, while the eastern axis is graced by a replica of the lavishly decorated wooden door from the Baroque period. A narrow skirt roof spans the entire width of the façade right above the ground-floor level. Each of the upper storeys features a pair of rectangular windows, with the windows of the uppermost storey being slightly lower than the rest. The entire façade is topped by a low roof parapet with a profiled crowning cornice.

Limited access to the monument. The building now serves as a residential building and a law office. Part of the ground-floor premises is occupied by a store.

compiled by Piotr Dąbrowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Toruń, 14-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Chudziakowa J., Średniowieczny Toruń, [in:] Historia Torunia, vol. I - W czasach średniowiecza (do roku 1454), Toruń 1999,
  • Kalinowska K., Kuchta Cz., Skrócone studium - rozpoznanie, vol. II, PP PKZ, Toruń 1967, typescript available in the collection of the Municipal Monuments Inspector in Toruń,
  • Mikulski K., Właściciele i funkcje działek w kwartale starotoruńskim Starego Miasta Torunia od końca XIV do początku XIX w. Blok “B”, Toruń 2000, typescript available in the collection of the Municipal Monuments Inspector in Toruń.

General information

  • Type: tenement house
  • Chronology: ok. 1400 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Stary Rynek 9, Toruń
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Toruń, commune Toruń
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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