Fot. poznan.fandom.com, Jan Kaczmarek 22, CC-BY-SA

Art Nouveau in the Poznań style: Haase and Wagner tenement house on Święty Marcin Street

The historic building of Gustav Haase and Georg Wagner is considered to be the most outstanding example of Poznan Art Nouveau. The five-storey edifice was erected at the beginning of the 20th century and immediately evoked great appreciation and admiration for the craftsmanship of its architect, Oskar Hoffmann. In its neighbourhood, on the western section of Święty Marcin Street, there are other representative tenement houses, which makes this place one of the most interesting and picturesque in the whole city.

The tenement house was built in 1902, on the site of a one-storey excise office house demolished a year earlier, for Gustav Hasse (a timber merchant, mud merchant and owner of a trading house) and Georg Wagner (publisher and editor of the liberal daily Posener Neueste Nachrichten – “Poznań’s Latest News”). The editorial office of this daily existed until 1926, later the People’s Reading Society was located here.

Św. Marcin Street in the 1930s Source: University Library in Poznań

The tenement house was designed by Oskar Hoffmann – one of the most prominent architects of the Art Nouveau period in Poznań. The bottom and the first floor of the building were used for trade and offices, while the upper floor was used for luxurious flats. The façade decoration is very rich and varied. The details on the façade were created with great care – we can find graffitic motifs on the panels, as well as artistic cornices, stucco, decorative woodwork or wrought iron grilles on the balconies. Of the details, the ship, the locomotive and the writing implements under the eaves stand out. These refer to the occupations of the building’s owners.

Fot. mamik / fotopolska.eu, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A goose motif appears from the courtyard, which is associated with the legend of Saint Martin. The windows are framed by decorative bands with floral motif decoration. All this added to the prestige of the building, owner and designer. The building luckily escaped serious damage during World War II, which cannot be said of other nearby buildings, destroyed or seriously damaged during the battles for Poznań in the winter of 1945, known as Festung Posen. The roof of the building was altered, and the decorative ball, among other things, disappeared from it. The building regained some of its original beauty after a renovation carried out in 1998-1999.

Święty Marcin Street and the Haase-Georg tenement house at the beginning of the 20th century and today. Photo: University Library in Poznań and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

Source: poznan.fandom.com, icimss.edu.pl

See also: Architecture | Façade | Tenement | Art Nouveau | Poznan | whiteMAD on Instagram

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