Fot. Paweł Mazur, bankfotoinfo. Źródło: Krakowski Szlak Modernizmu

The House of a Hundred Balconies in Krakow. A leading example of post-war modernism

Its construction began in 1959 and took two years to complete. The House of a Hundred Balconies is located at 4 Retoryka Street in Kraków. Its design was prepared by the architect Bohdan Lisowski. During the conservation renovation, respect was paid to the architect’s vision, thanks to which the building retained its original features.

The House of a Hundred Balconies is an example of post-war modernism architecture. Bohdan Lisowski worked on the project for two years. The house was built on the frontage of a historic street and is adjacent to townhouses from the 19th century and the inter-war period. Its architectural form differs significantly from the multi-family blocks of flats that were built in Poland in the 1950s. Already at the time of its construction, the multi-family house was distinguished by its elevated standard of workmanship and aesthetics.

The façade on the street side is distinguished by the alternating arrangement of the balconies. Their even rhythm, indentations and glazing give the building elegance. The façade is in a yellow-blue colour scheme. These were the colours of the building when it was built and were restored during the renovation. Interestingly, the visible balconies on the Rhetoric Street side of the building are less than a hundred in number, but their symmetrical arrangement and protrusion have earned the building the name ‘House of a Hundred Balconies’.

The second elevation is on the courtyard side and is much more modest. The balconies there are not as deep, but instead wider and regularly spaced.

photo by Zygmuint Put Zetpe0202,, licence: CC BY-SA 4.0

The building was built on stilts using timber frame construction and brick construction on the outside. A total of three entrances lead to the interior. There are three flats on the level of each of these ‘segments’.

The history of the building is described in a book entitled. ‘Modernism, Socialist Realism, Socialist Modernism, Postmodernism. A guide to the architecture of 20th century Krakow’. The guide was published in 2023 and was developed on the basis of the Krakow Route of Modernism project run by the Instytut Architektury foundation. The collective work was published by the Institute of Architecture, the co-publisher was the Norwid Culture Centre.

source: C. K. Norwid Culture Centre, Route of Modernism

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