Myśliwiecka 10

Myśliwiecka 10 – renovation of the Kaminski villa. As part of the work, the historic sgraffito was restored

Professors’ Colony in Warsaw is a complex of 18 houses by architects and professors of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology. The buildings were constructed in 1922 as a model example of the new Polish style of housing. The colony is located in the quarter of Górnośląska, J. Hoene-Wroński and Myśliwiecka Streets. This development is a valuable example of the artistic pursuits of the architects of the reborn Polish state and a memento of the exceptional people who lived there in the interwar period. The villa standing at Myśliwiecka 10 has just regained its former glory.

The building was constructed around 1925. Its first occupants were Zygmunt Kamiński, graphic artist, painter, co-founder and for many years dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, and Zofia Trzcińska-Kamińska, sculptor, medallist, one of the few female soldiers of the Polish Legions. The building, like most of the buildings in the Professors’ Colony, refers to native architecture. It was very much in vogue at the time of the search for a national style, rejecting foreign influences of the partition period. The façade of the house is decorated with a sgraffito decoration depicting allegories of painting and sculpture by Zygmunt Kaminski. On the wall facing the street is a bas-relief with the Virgin Mary by Zofia Trzcińska-Kamińska.

10 Myśliwiecka Street – garden elevation. Photo: BSKZ

The house was damaged during the Second World War, but most of the substance of the monument survived, making it of considerable historical value. After the war, in order to increase the living space for the additional tenants, 10 Myśliwiecka Street was superstructed and the hipped roof was replaced by a higher, gabled one. The Kaminskis participated in both its reconstruction and the repair of the sgraffito decoration. A memento of these works is the addition of the date 1948 in the decoration field above the central window, above the previously existing inscription 1925. Another witness to the complex history of the house is the cornice preserved during the reconstruction, which crowned the façade of the building before the war.

Photo Contractor of works

In March 2023, the Warsaw City Council awarded two grants for the renovation of this unique monument. An amount of over PLN 172 thousand subsidised the renovation of the 1920s façade and the conservation of the decoration. On the other hand, a subsidy of almost PLN 222,000 was granted for the renovation of the roof and the post-war fragment of the façade above the cornice. In addition, an additional grant of over PLN 14 000 was awarded in August 2023 to reimburse part of the cost of producing the design according to which the work is being carried out. For the work on the building, the contractor engaged a team of professional conservators and the latest technology. Dirty and damaged sgraffito decorations were decided to be cleaned with a laser, which reduced the risk of accidental damage to detached fragments.

Myśliwiecka 10
Photo BSKZ

The technique produced a very good result even on heavily damaged, delaminated fragments and revealed the beautiful deep black of the underlay. On this occasion, the conservators made a surprising discovery – underneath the black underlay, a layer of material in an intense, deep red was revealed. Presumably, it was originally planned to give the decoration this unusual colouring. However, this layer is very impermanent and easily flakes off. Perhaps this was the reason for the decision to cover it with a much more durable black plaster.

Myśliwiecka 10 before and after the facade and roof renovation

A surprising discovery was also made on the garden façade. Beneath a thin layer of secondary putty, with which the entire façade was covered during the post-war renovation and reconstruction, the original brick-red plaster mortar was revealed in the window blends. Combined with the pointed-arch form of the blends, this gives the façade an interesting neo-Gothic appearance. Thanks to painstaking work over many months, the decorations are now well bonded to the substrate. After conservation, their drawing is legible and perfectly demonstrates the author’s class. After laser cleaning, the deep black of the substrate is once again clear and contrasts beautifully with the light parts. During the renovation, the rafter framing was also reinforced and the roof was given a new plain tile, reminiscent of the original 1940s covering. Work is still underway in the attic, so scaffolding is in place on the garden side. The renovation was carried out with the financial support of the City of Warsaw in the amount of PLN 404 000.


Read also: Architecture | Tenement | City | Warsaw | Architecture in Poland

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