Multi-family, high-rise tenement house (house no. 7) – part of the Living and Work Space (Wohnung und Werkraum Ausstellung, WuWA) exhibition, currently serving as the “Pancernik” (“Battleship”) Student Residence Hall, Wrocław
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Multi-family, high-rise tenement house (house no. 7) – part of the Living and Work Space (Wohnung und Werkraum Ausstellung, WuWA) exhibition, currently serving as the “Pancernik” (“Battleship”) Student Residence Hall

Wrocław

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The building represents a highly innovative design for a high-rise building designed around the concept of community living. It is a fine example of the modernist architecture of Wrocław, its design incorporating clear references to the so-called “battleship architecture”. The house was built as an element of the model, experimental housing estate accompanying the WuWA exhibition, which is an excellent example of the implementation of modern trends in European urban planning and architecture of the 1920s .

History

The building was erected in 1929. Alteration works on the ground-floor level were conducted in 1931 and 1935. During the postwar period, the building underwent substantial alteration works and was adapted to serve as a student residence hall. The design for the building was created by Adolf Rading, while the interiors were designed by Adolf Rading, Josef Vinecký (furniture), Li Vinecký-Thorn (textile patterns) and Anna Rading (net curtains and drapes).

Description

The multi-family high-rise residential building was intended as an embodiment of the concept of community living whereby every resident would be allowed to have a say on the manner in which the entire community was organised. The building contained numerous common areas: shops, workshops, reading rooms, wash rooms as well as the rooftop atelier and garden terraces. Initially the design called for a total of 10 residential floors. The design of the building contained clear references to the so-called “battleship architecture”, with the flat façades of the structure enlivened by windows and loggias in various shapes and sizes. Each storey of the building had 8 apartments in total, with a living space of 57 sq. m. each.

The structure of the external walls was based on a steel frame, with the spaces between the beams filled with “Schima” aerated concrete boards. The interior partition walls were constructed using “S-Schenkel” plasterboard panels and aerated concrete blocks. The façades feature a plaster finish. The building features brick infill ceilings. The staircase was designed as a steel structure. Marble and artificial stone were used for both the stairs and terraces. The flat roof of the building is clad with pressed roofing felt finished with grit. The original window design featured the use of single glazing, with the western staircase windows being the only original windows left in the building today.

The building was designed as a free-standing edifice based on an elongated rectangular plan, with the longer façades of its cuboid structure facing the south and the north respectively. Designed as a five-storey structure (ground floor, three residential floors and rooftop atelier), the building originally consisted of two cuboid sections - the northern section and the southern section - connected by the staircase shaft.

The residential storeys were initially designed on an H-shaped plan, with a central staircase and elevator shaft and a hallway running along the axis of the building. The original interior layout allowed for the two- and three-room apartments to be merged both horizontally and vertically. Today, the central hallway is flanked by individual student rooms on both sides.

After 1945, the appearance of the building - including both the overall outline and the design of the façades - was detrimentally affected by the alteration works performed. The open space separating the individual sections of the eastern façade was replaced by a solid structure, designed to maximise the number of available rooms. The top section was also redesigned, with an additional storey being constructed, leading to the destruction of the terraces and the distinctive overhanging sections. The shape of the windows was also modified, with all circular windows being removed. An additional row of stacked loggias on the axis of the staircase was added to the eastern façade. In the early 21st century, the building received a new insulation layer made of extruded polystyrene boards, covered with a textured plaster finish. Some of the original windows were replaced with new ones, made of PVC.

Limited access to the historic building. The structure remains the property of the University of Wrocław; access to the building is possible upon prior arrangement with its administrators. The housing estate can only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Bogna Oszczanowska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 07-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Urbanik J., Wrocławska wystawa Werkbundu WUWA 1929-2009, Wrocław 2009, pp. 312-328.

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: 1929 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Tramwajowa 2b, Wrocław
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district Wrocław, commune Wrocław
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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