Tenements at Lwowska 15/17: one of the most monumental developments of the early 20th century.

The tenements at 15/17 Lwowska Street in Warsaw are an undeniable example of early 20th century elegance and architectural solidity. Designed by Scottish architect Arthur Gurney and erected between 1911 and 1912, the buildings were part of a larger development plan for the area. They are still stunning today with their eclectic facades.

The townhouses are a unique example of a style that can be described as a combination of Art Nouveau and Neo-Gothic, with clear Neo-Romanesque influences and Berlin’s Cubic Modernism. The multitude of different ornaments and elements create a dynamic and complex composition. The most characteristic elements are the mansard and the corner tower, which originally had a more slender helmet. A characteristic motif is the majestic dove placed above one of the windows.

Lwowskiej 15/17

The facades of the buildings contain a number of details such as large shop windows, narrow shop entrances, bay windows, balconies with various balustrades and loggias with columns. These elements create a harmonious whole that is both monumental and decorative. The corner tower, one storey higher than the rest of the building, is one of the building’s most distinctive elements. Its upper storey is slightly overhanging, with a wide recess with a four-part window and a bay window with a Venetian window. The helmet of the tower, reconstructed after the war, is pyramidal with a quadrangular lantern.

The townhouses in 1912. Source: “Atlas dawnej architektury ulic i placów Warszawy” – Jarosław Zieliński, Towarzystwo Opieki nad Zabytkami Warszawa

Lwowskiej 17

The base of the façade was covered with stone and the upper storeys were decorated with flatter panelling with vertical grooves. The townhouses were erected on a very shallow plot, which makes it devoid of a courtyard and outbuildings. The buildings are of brick construction with fire-rated ceilings and a high, tin gable roof (originally ceramic). The rear gable wall, adjacent to the house at 59 Koszykowa Street, is designed with risers of skylights. The interiors of the townhouses also impress with architectural details. Their hallways are lined with marble floors, and the floors can be reached by an elegant staircase with decorative rungs and bars. The interior decoration of the common areas includes wreath motifs.

Tenement house number 17 in the 1980s and today. Photo “Warsaw” by Interpress Publishing House, 1985 and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

The tenement was owned by Alexander Robert Horn, owner of a tannery in Wola, and other businessmen associated with him. In the interwar years, the economic crisis affected the tannery business, leading to the building’s debt and its sale in 1932 to Ludwik and Maria Pannenko. During the Second World War, during the Warsaw Uprising, the tenement lost the finial of the corner tower, which was partially restored in 1995. After the war, until the turn of the 1990s, the ground floor of the tenement housed a two-storey butcher’s shop.

Ground floor of the tenement, 1968 and 2024. Photo: Tygodnik Stolica no. 43 (1090) 27.10.1968 and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

In 2012, after reprivatisation, the building was reclaimed by the Pannenk family and put up for sale. Today, the townhouse serves residential and commercial functions and its architecture is kept in relatively good condition, which after more than a century still attracts attention and delights passers-by.

The tenements at Lwowska 15/17 are some of the most beautiful and characteristic buildings in Warsaw. Their monumental masses and meticulous details are a testament to the talent of Artur Gurney and his master, Bronislaw Rogóyski, who created these remarkable buildings. They form an important part of the city’s architectural heritage.

Source: nepomuki.pl

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