The Szymborski townhouse is a gem of Warsaw’s Downtown. It regained its full splendour in 2018

The corner Szymborski tenement house at the intersection of Koszykowa and Mokotowska Streets was built at the beginning of the 20th century to a design by Juliusz Dzierżanowski. Elegant and richly decorated, the building with its eclectic-secession architectural design stands out from the surrounding buildings in this part of the city. Until recently, however, passers-by passed by dirty facades devoid of most details or ornamentation. A comprehensive restoration completed in 2018 has restored the historic building’s unique character and made the townhouse now one of the most noteworthy in the entire area.

The construction of the corner, four-storey townhouse was completed in 1902. It was built for the building contractor Apoleni Szymborski. The beautifully decorated building with a truncated corner was designed by Juliusz Dzierżanowski, combining elements of the Italian Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque with the spirit of Art Nouveau. Here one could see the wings of birds and bats on the consoles supporting the balconies, suns and mascarons decorating the frames of the window openings. In addition to the striking front elevation, the building was characterised by a sumptuous gate passage with a wealth of floral motifs characteristic of the Art Nouveau style and an interesting staircase.


Although there was an insurgent barricade at the local intersection in 1944, and heavy fighting took place throughout the area, the building survived the Second World War only slightly damaged, preserving both the interiors and the exterior elevations. In the post-war years, the building underwent a renovation, which included replacing the balcony railings with iron ones, and removing and painting some of the rich detailing. Over the following decades the building gradually deteriorated, losing the remnants of its former charm.

The Szymborski House in the 1990s and today. Source: Social Archive of Warsaw, and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

Szymborski tenement before and after renovation. Photo credit: May/, License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

The situation only changed in 2016. At that time, the community received municipal subsidies and began a comprehensive renovation divided into phases. The contractor skilfully preserved the building’s former character and gave it a new shine. As part of this, the original stucco and cornices were protected and the historic appearance of the white-grey façade was restored. The staircase, gate passage and courtyard facades were also restored to their former glory.

1944 and 2024, perspective of Koszykowa Street. On the right, Szymborski’s tenement house is visible. Source: Museum of Warsaw and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

The tenement house is of unquestionable scientific value, being an element of the authentic, historical urban fabric influencing the character and landscape of two of Warsaw’s most important, representative streets – Koszykowa and Mokotowska. The building is also an example of a tenement house from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, representing the features of metropolitan architecture of the time.


Also read: tenement | Warsaw | Architecture in Poland | Metamorphosis | whiteMAD on Instagram

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