Sienna 43: a modernist gem in the midst of Warsaw’s modern city centre

The tenement house standing at Sienna 43 in Warsaw is a pre-war building of significant historical and architectural value. It was designed and built in the 1930s by the then famous and respected partnership of architects Jerzy Gelbard and Roman Sigalin, known for many of their projects in the capital, which survived the turmoil of war and can still be admired today. The tenement house on Sienna Street stands out for its elegant, modernist architecture.

The modernist, four-storey tenement house was erected between 1936 and 1937 according to the design of the well-known and respected duo of architects Jerzy Gelbard and Roman Sigalin. There were three commissioners of the project: Paweł Goldstein, Adam Borowik and Dr Andrzej Bieleński. The house was thoroughly luxurious, with many noble materials used, such as the original façade covering, for which Felzytyn was used. Felzytyn was the trade name for a ready-made dry plastering material produced in Lubartow by the company “Felzytyn i Trocal”.

The building on the side of Sienna Street has two bay windows on the sides of the façade, which lead out onto small balconies. Large windows are used between the bays. This is a typical feature of the designs by the Gelbard-Sigalin duo. At present, the façade is covered with plaster, in which geometrical divisions into smaller elements are marked. The ground floor, clad in grey panels, contains two commercial premises, with a gate between them to enter the property. It is made of metal elements joined together in geometric patterns.

Through the gate, one enters an elegantly furnished hallway, finished with stone slabs and a grooved tiled floor. A lift and terrazzo staircase lead to the upper floors. Their simple wrought iron handrails are finished in wood. In the courtyard there is one side annex, one floor lower than the front building.

Sienna 43

During the Second War and the Warsaw Uprising, Sienna 43 fortunately did not suffer much. The outbuildings survived “under the roof”, and damage to the top floor only reached the front house, most notably the north-west corner, which may have been damaged even to the level of the third floor. In the post-war years, the neighbourhood underwent huge changes. Many ruins but also quite well-preserved buildings were demolished.

The tenements on the south side of Sienna Street were very lucky. The houses have been rebuilt and renovated, and amidst the new skyscrapers springing up all around, they are a small enclave of the pre-war capital in its modern centre. Today, the house at 43 Sienna Street is well maintained and one can easily admire its charm and the craftsmanship of its architects.


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