28 Czerwca

Renovation in the Poznań style: the building on 28 Czerwca Street is as beautiful as before

The building at 117 28 Czerwca Street is located right next to the Wilda Market Square in Poznań. Around 1896, the general conditions for the urban development of Wilda were delineated. By 1900, detailed designs were drawn up and the development of the market area began, giving it its present shape, and after 1900 the characteristic buildings of this square appeared. It is estimated that the building at 117 28 Czerwca Street was erected before the Second World War. The building is unlikely to have suffered major damage.

The todos.architekci studio had its first approach to the design of the tenement’s front elevation around 2020. The existing condition of the tenement left much to be desired from a technical as well as an aesthetic point of view. At first glance, the front elevation appeared quite calm. The exception to this was the basement of the building, which was used for commercial premises and had undergone repeated renovations, with each shop window having a different shape, colour and type of finish. As for the silhouette of the building, the main entrance, closed with an arch, was placed asymmetrically. On the sides are the entrances to the commercial premises. Wooden windows are present throughout the front elevation. The front has symmetrically arranged balconies and a two-storey bay window located symmetrically, terminating in a balcony. The townhouses have wrought iron railings. The front elevation is topped with an eaves cornice, the right side of the townhouse transitions into a huge dormer.

During the site inspection, the architects’ attention was drawn to the prominent arch-shaped plaster reflection above the left shopfront. It turned out that the premises had a mezzanine floor, and from the inside the shape of the arch could be seen, which clearly indicated that the front shopfronts looked very different in the original. This motivated the designers to start looking for photographic documentation to get an idea of what the building in question looked like in the original. Unfortunately, it was not easy – the City’s Historic Preservation Officer did not have photographic documentation, and primary sources of historical material did not provide answers to these questions either.

Thanks to the perseverance of the architects and with a great deal of commitment on the part of the investor, a trace was finally found. During the battle for Poznań in 1945 between the Germans and the Red Army, a German ‘Panther’ tank was immobilised exactly in front of the building. Here, historical sources split into two versions – German sources claim a lack of fuel, and Russian sources claim that the vehicle was hit by a cannon.

28 Czerwca

These dramatic events were documented in photographs, which showed that the building looked very different in 1945 than it does now. The attention was drawn to the very rich detailing of the building – beautifully decorated front shop windows, rustication on the ground floor, and the subsequent floors had richly decorated window bands with florals. Additional details such as garlands and crests were also visible on the façade. The windows themselves had not only wooden roll-up shutters, but also metal awnings. The architects consulted their findings with an MKZ representative along with a proposal to restore the original detailing on the façade based on photographs.

28 Czerwca

MKZ agreed to provide a concept for the façade. Together with Krzysztof Milanowski, they proposed a design which was accepted by the conservator. Thanks to the efforts of the architects in joint action with the investor, MKZ and the main façade contractor Lidenskap, the building’s original splendour was restored. The original division of the ground floor with shop windows was restored, and advertising signs were unified. During work on the façade, the original cornices of the balconies under the polystyrene were discovered, as well as the original shape of the window bands, which were plastered in a secondary manner. The renovation of the tenement also coincided with the renovation of 28 Czerwca Street.

The tenement house on 28 Czerwca Street before and after renovation. Photo: Google Maps and todos.architekci

The aim of any renovation of the façade of a historic building is to restore its original qualities, in a way that does not distort the course of history. The values that guided the designers were shared with the vision of the City’s Historic Preservation Officer. Thanks to joint site meetings and the involvement of the MKZ, many agreements were reached, so that today we can admire an exemplary example of restoration, where the lost historical value has been restored in its entirety. The façade was renovated in the traditional way, using wooden moulds for the window profiles. Larger elements such as the garlands on the 2nd storey were prefabricated from silicon moulds on site.

Today, the building looks very elegant and has once again become a decoration of the heart of Wilda, which is its market square.

Source: todos.architekci

See also: Architecture | Facade | Tenement | Metamorphosis | Poznan | whiteMAD on Instagram

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