Dom podczas odbudowy. Fot. mamik/, Licencja: CC BY-SA 4.0

Metamorphosis of a half-timbered house in Bogatynia. The building was destroyed by flood and fire

Bogatynia is called the Polish capital of half-timbered houses. More than 160 of them can be found here, and around 600 in Poland, mainly in Lower Silesia. It is a type of folk building found on the border between the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. A half-timbered house is a building divided into living and farm parts, usually with two storeys and a gabled roof. At the end of 2022, extensive restoration work was completed on the building at 30 Zytavská Ave. where one of these valuable architectural monuments stands. It had fallen victim to the tragic flood of 2010 and subsequent arson. The building was in urgent need of rescue.

The first mention of the house dates from 1686. Thanks to existing cadastral documents, it is possible to establish ownership events up to 1938. The existing date of 1836 on the entrance portal may indicate that it was rebuilt or reconstructed. The vaulted cellars in the building are definitely older than the inscription indicates.

The house in the 1970s Fot. Elżbieta Lech-Gotthardt

The building has a compact, two-storey block set on an L-shaped plan topped with a high gabled roof. The building has retained the interior layout representative of a rural building. On the ground floor, two log chambers are divided by a pass-through vestibule on one side into a residential part and a utility part (a weaver’s workshop) on the other. Characteristic elements of the house are the windows in the reveals with profiled bands and carved sills. In addition, stone detailing in the form of a sandstone plinth under the entire building, window frames in the ground floor entrance and basement and a representative portal.

The house before and after the fire. Photo: Elżbieta Lech-Gotthardt

Metamorphosis of the half-timbered house. Photo: mamik/, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0 and Danuta B., Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0

As a result of the floods in 2010, the building suffered significantly and was uninhabitable. The building’s foundations were washed away by the floodwaters of the Miedzianka River, causing part of its walls to collapse. The abandoned and unsecured building shared the fate of others, where several half-timbered houses were set on fire overnight. The fire completely destroyed the roof, the ceilings over the entire first floor, the hallway and two staircases. The window and door woodwork was damaged and vandals did the rest.

Following these tragic events, the District Building Inspector selected the building for demolition, but a decision by the conservation officer stopped this action. The destroyed monument was put up for sale. After the floods in Bogatynia, an initiative was launched by the owners of the half-timbered houses located along the Miedzianka River at Żytawska Avenue to create a catering and hotel base on one reception site to serve organised tourist groups. It included five historic buildings.

The house during reconstruction and at the end of the works. Photo: Danuta B./, Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0 andł

The renovation carried out at house number 30 was complex and time-consuming. As a result of the work, among other things, it was possible to save part of the ceilings, which were returned to their original place after conservation. The remainder was reconstructed. The attic was adapted for residential use. For this reason, new windows decorated with carved floral detail modelled on another half-timbered building appeared. As a result of the work, the stonework elements (portal, window frames, plinth) were cleaned and the stolen doors were reconstructed. Ultimately, it is envisaged that nine hotel flats with kitchenettes will be opened there.

Source: Elżbieta Lech-Gotthardt/Thehalf-timbered houses

Read also: Architecture in Poland | Renovation | History | Curiosities | Metamorphosis | Wood

Subject: Metamorphosis of a half-timbered house in Bogatynia. The building was destroyed by flood and fire

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