Fot. Wspinka, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

St. Joseph the Bridegroom Church – a Walbrzych temple with unique features

The Church of St. Joseph the Spouse in Wałbrzych is one of the churches built during a period of very intensive development of the local mining and industry, which resulted in a great increase in population. Erected in the early 20th century, the building represents historicism with references to timber-frame construction and neo-Gothic. It is an example of the partial use of timber-frame construction in church construction, which is unusual in Lower Silesia and makes the church unique.

From the second half of the 19th century, Sobiecin took on the character of a mining settlement with an urban character, functionally linked to Walbrzych. It was settled by people from Germany, the Czech Republic and Silesia. With time, the need for a church became acute. The building was erected between 1908 and 1910. The church was to be built in an area threatened by mining damage, so suitably strong foundations were planned (of rammed concrete with a steel grate, among other railway rails) and the use of a skeletal structure as light and flexible.

St Joseph the Spouse Church in the late 1930s and early 1940s Source: Deutsche Fotothek www.deutschefotothek.de

The designer used the standard, popular spatial layout of the time for a rural basilica church with narrow naves (with galleries) and a transept and gave it a disjointed, asymmetrically composed body with a laterally attached tower. He chose a standard version of timber-frame construction for the church, combined with a frame structure. The church was designed in the historicist style, with reference to the traditions of timber-frame construction, to Neo-Gothic (the openings, the archaic high gable of the façade) and to the aesthetics of the early 20th century. (overall composition of the façade, strong geometrisation of the openings).

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

In the partially plastered interior of the church, the decorative structure of the side aisles and emporiums is exposed. The interior of the church was decorated with decorative polychrome with several figural representations, and the furnishings were given a neo-Gothic style. The organ was made by the Schlag & Söhne company. In 1942, the interior decoration was changed. The polychromes and the main part of the church furnishings were removed. The new main altar was reduced to a Crucifixion group.

Photo by Slawomir Milejski, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1943, a new altar was erected and shortly afterwards a modernist communion table and pulpit. In 1962-1964, the church underwent a major renovation: a new polychrome by painter Tadeusz Wronski was made. In the 1980s, the roof was repaired and the church’s presbytery was altered to adapt it to the requirements of the post-conciliar liturgy. After 2009, the polychrome of the emporium balustrades was reconstructed.

Source: zabytek.pl, swjozef-oblubieniec.pl

Read also: Architecture in Poland | Sacral architecture | Monument | Travel | Facade

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