Willa Rechta

Świdermajers open. It will be possible to see their interiors

The Świdermajers will open on the eighth of June. On that day, their owners will let visitors see their interiors, gardens and courtyards. In total, it will be possible to see nine buildings in Otwock and Józefów. Participation in the event is free of charge.

Świdermajer-type houses are a unique example of Polish architecture. Their construction developed from the 1880s along the Świder River. Most often the buildings served as summer houses. Their unique feature is their ornamentation. When working with wood, craftsmen often referred to Bernhard Liebold’s 1880 manual “Pattern of woodcarving detail”. The author included many detailed drawings showing examples of the use of decoration. The result was, among other things, profiled boards covering facades, decorative gables, pediments, balustrades, shutters, verandas, wooden cornices and finely worked corners.

Are Świdermajers only picturesque ruins to which the term “difficult beauty” applies? Or perhaps worthless wooden houses, inhabited by problematic tenants? The stereotypes associated with wooden villas, relicts of the summer and spa area, want to disenchant the members of the Association of Owners, Residents and Lovers of Wooden Houses on the Otwock Line – Świdermajers.

The Swidermajerowie Association was founded in 2023 to support homeowners and work to preserve wooden architecture. The associated people own villas and historic buildings in Anin, Falenica, Józefów and Otwock. The oldest dates back to 1880. They are hard-nosed enthusiasts and practitioners who have a variety of professional experience and are an intergenerational organisation. They popularise the heritage of the Otwock Line and lobby for systemic solutions for its protection and funding. The first edition of the Open Houses, in June 2023, held as part of the Świdermajer Festival, was attended by several hundred people. There were queues of people eager to enter in front of the villas. This year, it will be possible to see other buildings.

We want to show that each of our houses hides fascinating stories important to the identity of the city. And, of course, there is life going on in them: renovations, planting, looking for contractors or grants – this is our everyday life,” explains Joanna Mikulska, President of the Association, a resident of the over 100-year-old Villa Swoboda in Otwock.

The owners have a free hand in what and how they show. Some meet the attendees on the property, others let them into the stairwell, rooms and even the attic.

Rogalski House

We will see the extraordinary garden in which the Stawikowski villa in Józefów is sunk, the beautiful ornaments of the villa Irenka, which is being prepared for renovation and was built for him by a tsarist officer. We will breathe in the balmy pine air at the impressively sized villa next to the Świder river. There will also be an opportunity to see two newly renovated houses, including the villa Słoneczna Polana in Otwock, known as Dietrich’s villa. A real treat is to enter the famous, buildings in the centre of Otwock – Villa Rechta and Villa Szeliga. The latter once belonged to the Perechodnik family and served not only residential functions, but also housed offices of associations, shops and doctors’ surgeries,” says Katarzyna Chudyńska-Szuchnik, a member of the Association and author of the book “Świdermajerowie”, from which the organisation takes its name.

The Open Houses event takes place on 8 June between 10.00 and 19.00 in the Otwock and Józefów areas. A 45-minute visit to each house is scheduled, admission is free and there is no registration. Visitors travel on their own. A map with addresses will be prepared for visitors, available on FB Świdermajerowie and in the following locations, as well as a free publication “Under three layers of linoleum. History hidden in houses” with monographic texts of the nine villas visited by Katarzyna Chudyńska-Szuchnik and Lidia Głażewska-Dańko.

The day will conclude with a concert by the Świdermajer Orkiestra band, which will take place at the Rogalski house, at 42 Mickiewicza Street (near the town beach). This is a folk-rock band, originating from Otwock, which draws inspiration from the local micro-world. Among the songs performed by the band, there will be a musical arrangement of a fragment of the poem ‘Trip to Świder’, from which the term ‘Świdermajer’ originates. Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński wrote the poem in 1949 after a visit to the villa of the Maksim family, located in Świder, next door to the venue of his last visit and also the concert.


8 June 2024

10.00 – 11.00 Wooden House, 11 Father Rafał Kalinowski Street, Otwock

11.00 – 12.00 Willa Dietricha, 5 Jaremy Street, Otwock

12.00 – 13.00 Willa Swoboda, 39 Tadeusza Kościuszki Street, Otwock

13.00 – 14.00 Willa Szeliga, 18 Kościelna Street, Otwock

14.00 – 15.00 Willa Rechta / Hotel Polski, 23 Kościelna Street, Otwock

15.00 – 16.00 Villa Stawikowskich, 92 3 Maja Street, Józefów

16.00 – 17.00 Benkówka Villa, 100 3 Maja Street, Józefów

17.00 – 18.00 Villa Irenka, 1 Zielona Street, Józefów

18.00 – 19.00 Rogalski House, ul. Adama MIckiewicza 42, Otwock Świder

19.00 Concert: Świdermajer Orkiestra, Dom Rogalskich

Open House Event https://fb.me/e/h9qBZkLNI

Organisers: Association of Owners, Residents and Lovers of Wooden Houses on the Otwock Line – Świdermajers. The ‘Open Houses’ activity is financed from the budget of the City of Otwock. The owners make their houses available for tours to the local community pro bono.

photos: Lidia Głażewska-Dańko

source: organiser’s materials

Read also: Single-family house | Curiosities | Villas and residences | Recommended | whiteMAD on Instagram

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