Parish church of St Joseph, Zabrze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish church of St Joseph

Zabrze

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One of the most valuable example of modernist ecclesiastical architecture in the Upper Silesia region, combining traditional forms and modern means of expression, including the concept of light as a building material typical of the works of the architect Dominikus Böhm.

History

The church of St Joseph was erected following the establishment of the new parish, spun off from the parish of St Andrew in Zabrze due to the rapid increase in the number of churchgoers as well as the formation of the new district known as Gagfa, located in the northern part of the city and intended for residents who relocated here following the plebiscite which took place in the Polish part of Upper Silesia. The church, erected in the years 1930-1931 based on the design produced by Dominikus Böhm, one of the founding fathers of the modern German ecclesiastical architecture.

Description

The church is situated in the south-western part of the current city centre of Zabrze, in the historic Gagfa district established during the interwar period, forming part of the southern frontage of Roosevelta street, its front façade facing the Damrota street.

The walls of the church were constructed using brick of various degrees of vitrification, arranged in the so-called monk bond. The building was designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan with a semi-circular chancel to the south. Its compact silhouette consists of the nave and chancel, covered with a common flat roof and preceded by a quadrangular courtyard or atrium to the north, as well as the quadrangular tower adjoining the church to the east. The façades of the church take the form of monumental, streamlined brick surfaces with no architectural articulation or clear distinction between the chancel and the nave. The façade of the chancel consists of a single, curvilinear wall, its surface enlivened at the ground-floor level by a row of arched windows. The monotonous surfaces of both side façades are partitioned by rows of rhythmically arranged oculi on the eastern side as well as elongated, tall windows topped with semicircular arches on the western side. The front façade features a broad, glazed partition at the ground-floor level, with an expansive rose window positioned a few metres above. The façade and the atrium space are partially obscured by an openwork arrangement of four stacked arcades. The façades of the monumental eastern tower are partitioned by two rows of small, arcaded openings positioned near the top of the structure. The interior is partitioned by rhythmically arranged buttress walls, extending deep into the nave and forming a row of chapels, as well as by a three-storey, arcaded ambulatory surrounding the chancel, its elevated flooring concealing the crypt beneath. The ceiling above the nave is graced by coffered decorations as well as a decorative flourish in the form of an aureole enveloping the Eye of Providence, positioned above the altarpiece. All of the stained glass windows designed by D. Böhm have been preserved intact, with the images incorporated therein being centred around the theme of the seven sacraments, including The Eucharist (west), The Holy Family (the eastern chancel window) as well as the ornate rose window in the northern wall.

The church is open to visitors.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 14-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Chojecka E., Kościół św. Józefa w Zabrzu Dominikusa Böhma na tle krajobrazu artystycznego Górnego Śląska, Katowice 1999.
  • Chojecka E., Gorzelik J., Kozina I., Szczypka-Gwiazda B., Sztuka Górnego Śląska od średniowiecza do końca XX wieku, Katowice 2009, pp. 407-410.
  • Historia kościoła i parafii św. Józefa w Zabrzu, P. Purchała (ed.), Katowice 2007.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1930-1931 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Roosevelta 102, Zabrze
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Zabrze, commune Zabrze
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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