Tenement house, Trzebiatów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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One of the few original, well-preserved gablefront tenement houses from the Gothic period in Western Pomerania, forming part of the market square frontage in the town of Trzebiatów.

History

The town of Trzebiatów was originally chartered according to Lübeck law in 1277 by Barnim I, the duke of Pomerania. Shortly thereafter, the street grid was drawn up, centred around a square-shaped market place in the middle. Different plots of land were also designated so that the construction of new houses could begin. Lot no. 31, located along the Market Square, is one of those original, medieval parcels of land. The surviving Late Gothic townhouse was most likely erected in the late 15th century. Both the peripheral walls of the basement level, the shared walls separating the individual townhouses as well as the front wall from the first-floor level up originate entirely from that period. The townhouse originally featured a tall ground-floor level as well as a two-storey attic which was designed as a storage space. The research performed in 1973 demonstrated that traces of bricked-up pointed-arch openings were present above the ground-floor shop window. One of those openings marked the spot of the centrally positioned main entrance, while the other was originally part of one of the windows. These openings reached much higher than the current ground-floor level ceiling, which means that the ground-floor level was originally much taller and incorporated a spacious vestibule accessible through the entrance positioned in the middle of the façade. A wooden mezzanine and possibly a store-room with wooden partition walls are believed to have both been present inside the vestibule. Towards the end of the 16th century or in the early 17th century, the tenement house may have already received its Renaissance gable decorations; one may suspect that these changes were not quite as superficial and that the entire gable may have been replaced during that period. The interior was rearranged during the early modern period, after the great fire which swept across the town in 1681. The ground-floor level ceiling was lowered, the spacious vestibule was subdivided into smaller rooms, while the first floor was adapted to serve as a residential space. It was also during that period that the back building located on the left hand side of the yard behind the tenement house was erected. This two-storey structure featured half-timbered walls and a gable roof clad beaver-tail roof tiles. In the second half of the 19th century, the first floor windows received new surrounds; the window joinery was also replaced during that period. In the late 19th century or in the early 20th century, the ground-floor level was adapted to serve as a shop. A large display window with integrated store entrance was added; a signboard spanning the entire width of the front façade was added above the shop window, beneath the first-floor window sills. An inventory prepared in 1957 shows that the shop occupied nearly all of the ground-floor premises, with a narrow hallway ending with a staircase leading up to the first floor situated on the right. The first floor followed a three-bay layout with wide suites accommodating two rooms each positioned along the front and the back of the house; the narrow middle bay contained, among others, the staircase. At that time, the technical condition of both the tenement house and its back building were considered to be satisfactory. The basement level and all overground levels feature wooden ceilings. The ceilings above the first floor and the attic were known to have suffered from technical issues at the time when the inventory was prepared. In 1961, the façade underwent restoration. The exterior plasterwork was either repaired or completely replaced, with the walls being stripped of the old window surrounds and lintel cornices; the signboard above the downstairs store was also removed, with the architectural articulation of the Gothic-era gable being emphasized through the addition of a faux brick bond executed in oil paint; a similar method was also used to accentuate the window surrounds. The renovation works did not extend to the building’s interior, which was considered to be in a rather neglected state during a survey performed in 1964. A grocery store is known to have occupied the ground-floor premises of the tenement house at the time. Towards the end of the 1960s, the residents were evicted and a comprehensive restoration of the tenement house has begun. In 1969, the roof was dismantled, with the front wall and the gable being held up by wooden shoring posts. It was only in 1973, however, that a design for a comprehensive restoration and revitalisation of the building was produced, following a period of architectural studies. The renovation works were conducted in the years 1974-1975, with the front gable being restored at a slightly later date, according to the recommendations of the monument protection officer dated 1976. The back building was demolished, while the interiors of the front building were completely remodelled, with the wooden ceilings being replaced with masonry structures. The interior layout was completely transformed, with new partition walls being constructed from scratch. The roof truss, utilities installations and door and window joinery have also all been replaced. The interior of the townhouse was now interconnected with that of the neighbouring building no. 30, which also housed the new, shared staircase. A shop known as “Children’s World” now occupied the ground-floor premises. Later on, this store was replaced with a clothing outlet known as “Irena”, which still operates there today.

Description

Tenement house no. 31 forms part of the south-eastern frontage of the Market Square in Trzebiatów. The building’s front façade faces the north-west. Behind the townhouse lies the yard shared by all the buildings forming part of this quarter. The two-storey gablefront tenement house was designed on a roughly rectangular floor plan, its shorter sides facing the market square and the yard behind the building. The tenement house features a basement underneath the front part of its structure and is covered with a gable roof. The back building which had once accompanied the main townhouse was demolished in the 1970s. The tenement house is a brick structure, its walls covered with plaster. The roofs are clad with beaver-tail roof tiles. Both the basement level and the interiors of the remaining storeys feature ceramic brick infill ceilings supported by steel crossbeams, constructed during the 1970s. The front façade of the tenement house incorporates a large display window on the ground floor level, with the entrance being positioned on the first axis from the west. The first-floor level of the façade follows a four-axial layout, with windows framed with plain, plaster surrounds. Above them rises a lavishly designed Late Gothic gable partitioned with flamboyant, profiled (stepped) lesenes, flanking a series of blind windows topped with semi-circular arches and positioned on the axes of the first-floor windows below. The middle lesene, crowned with a small, semi-circular pediment surmounted by a spherical pinnacle, is flanked by a pair of attic windows, topped with semi-circular arches; these windows were not part of the original design and were added at a later date. All the remaining lesenes are likewise crowned with pinnacles, each consisting of a low plinth surmounted by a sphere. The corniced edge of the gable follows a sinuous curve between the lesenes. The rear façade of the tenement house was redesigned during the most recent renovation works; it follows a four-axial layout with windows framed with plain, plaster surrounds. The back entrance into the building is positioned on the first axis from the west, while the gable is pierced with a pair of small windows. The interior, completely remodelled in the 1970s, follows a three-bay layout on both the ground floor and the first floor level, with a narrow middle suite of rooms and two wider suites facing the market square and the back yard. A narrow hallway leads alongside the shared side wall of the tenement house on the ground floor level. A passage leads through this shared wall into the neighbouring house no. 30. It is inside this building that the staircase, shared between the two houses, is now located.

The building can be viewed from the outside. The interiors are devoid of period features with the exception of the basement level; they can be explored upon arrangement with the residents of the building.

compiled by Maciej Słomiński, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin, 29-05-2015.

Bibliography

  • Badania architektoniczne, kamieniczki Rynek 27 w Trzebiatowie, Szczecin 1973, prepared by S. Kwilecki, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Szczecin
  • Kamienice w Rynku w Trzebiatowie pow. Gryfice, woj. szczecińskie, prepared by Z. Radacki, Szczecin 1959, catalogue, p. 4, fig. 39, typescript available in the archive of the Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin
  • Architectural monument record sheet, compiled by K. Konopka, 1996, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Szczecin.
  • Trzebiatów, pow. Gryfice, woj. szczecińskie, studium historyczno-urbanistyczne do planu zagospodarowania przestrzennego, prepared by Z. Radacki, Szczecin 1963, p. 32, typescript available in the archive of the Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Szczecin

General information

  • Type: tenement house
  • Chronology: koniec XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek 31, Trzebiatów
  • Location: Voivodeship zachodniopomorskie, district gryficki, commune Trzebiatów - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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