Kamienica pod Gwiazdą, currently the branch of the Regional Museum, Toruń
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Kamienica pod Gwiazdą, currently the branch of the Regional Museum

Toruń

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Outstanding example of a well preserved, although reconstructed several times, lavish tenement house, with a Renaissance and Baroque architectural detail and interior fittings. The value of this historic structure is built by its visible traces of numerous transformations carried out during several style periods - from Gothic, through Renaissance and Baroque, to Classicism. Baroque wooden stairs are one of the most beautiful preserved elements of this type of fittings in Poland. Kamienica pod Gwiazdą is one of the most recognised historic structures of Toruń, also having a historic value - one of its owners was, among others, Filippo Buonaccorsi (called Kallimach), a humanist and teacher of the sons of the king Kazimierz Jagiellończyk.

History

The beginnings of the tenement house most probably date back to the turn of the 13th and 14th century. In the 14th century this was a two-bay tenement house, with a basement, and an outbuilding on the northern side of the plot. First documented reconstruction took placed ca. 15th century. Then the big hallway was created, and the back suite of rooms was extended. The tenement house had one floor back then, wooden ceilings and probably spiral stairs. Another reconstruction took place in the second half of the 16th century - another floor was added to the tenement house and the interior was reconstructed. From this period, among other things, a courtyard facade, galleries in the middle bay of the floors, Renaissance wall paintings on the ceiling beams of the great hallway and the chamber of the back suite of rooms on the ground floor, were preserved. This was then a three-floor building, with a basement, and an outbuilding from the side of the courtyard. The added part of the basements under the outbuilding had a barrel vault. Then probably also the facade was reconstructed - from Gothic one into a Renaissance one. At the end of the 17th century the then owner - Johann Georg Zöbner - carried out another reconstruction of the tenement house, giving it a Baroque touch known until today. Facade gained lavish decoration with plant ornamentation and a star placed at the top, wherefrom the building took its traditional name. Then the sandstone portal, decorated with plant ornamentation and two figures of angels, was added. In the big hallway wooden carved spiral stairs were made with a figure of Minerva and a lion holding the shield with a “1697” date. At the turn of the 18th and 19th century in the room of the front bay on the first floor, a classic illusionist wall painting was created. In 1856 in place of the chimney hood, another spiral (cast iron) stairs, connecting the ground floor with subsequent floors, were constructed. In the 19th century, apart from apartments on upper storerys, at the backlot of the temenent house the soap factory was operating, which was then the property of its owner - Johann Michael Wendisch, and in the great hallway there was a shop. In 1905 the building was turned into rental tenement house. In the years 1967-1969 construction and maintenance works were carried out in the building, and their aim was to go back to the spatial layout of the Renaissance house while exposing the valuable elements of other style periods. Entrance portal was moved back to the central axis, and the interior was adapted to exposition purposes for the Regional Museum in Toruń. In 1970 a Gallery of Far Eastern Art was opened there (currently the Collections of the Art of Orient).

Description

Tenement house is situated at the eastern frontage of the Old Town Square. Facade is in late Baroque style, there is a Renaissance spatial layout of the interior, with preserved parts of the Gothic house. It is a two-storey building, with a basement, built of brick on stone foundation. Ceilings and partitions are made of wood. There is a three-axis, multi-storey facade with stucco decoration with late Baroque floral ornamentation. The gable is crowned with a star. On the central axis there is a sandstone portal with Baroque decoration. Courtyard facade is made in Renaissance style. Two-bay interior on the ground floor and three-bay on the floors and in the basements. In the back bay of the ground floor there is a corridor leading to the courtyard. On the ceilings of the ground floor and first floor rooms there are Renaissance and Baroque-manneristic wall paintings. There are Baroque spiral carved wooden stairs, and another cast iron, neo-style stairs placed in the 19th century. Five inlaid doors from the middle of the 18th century were preserved.

The historic building is open to visitors. The structure is a seat of the Non-European Cultures branch of the Regional Museum in Toruń. It includes: a permanent exposition of the Far East art “the World of Orient,” temporary exhibitions room (on the second floor in the front bay), rooms for museum lessons (in the basement), classical living room (on the first floor in the front bay). There is a garden with oriental characteristics with an added storage shed - pavilion referring to Chinese pavilions,  in the yard. Expositions in Kamienica pod Gwiazdą are open to visitors every day except Mondays all year round (detailed information are available at museum’s website: http://www.muzeum.torun.pl/strona-30.html).

Compiled by Adam Paczuski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Toruń, 26.06.2014.

Bibliography

  • Tajchman J., Kamienica „Pod Gwiazdą” w Toruniu i jej problematyka konserwatorska, „Acta Universitatis Nicolai Copernici. Nauki Humanistyczno-Społeczne. Zabytkoznawstwo i Konserwatorstwo”, vol. XXV, issue 280, Toruń 1994.

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: XIII-XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek Staromiejski 35, Toruń
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Toruń, commune Toruń
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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