The historic Tenement House under the Sailfish located at 45 Sienna Street in Warsaw’s Śródmieście district is one of the few remnants of pre-war buildings in the area. It took its name from the characteristic tiles in the gate with a sailing ship motif.
The six-storey tenement house was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the early modernist style, designed by the famous architect Józef Napoleon Czerwiński. During the Second World War it was located in the ghetto area, but was excluded from it before the outbreak of the uprising, thus avoiding destruction. In the courtyard-study of the tenement is a chapel most likely dating from 1943, set up shortly after the non-Jewish residents moved in. During the Warsaw Uprising, the tenement housed the headquarters of the AK Chrobry II grouping. Only slightly damaged, mainly in the upper parts, it has survived in good condition with rich architectural detail. To this day we can admire decorative brackets, facets, glazed tiles or the sculpture of a putto in a niche on the façade.
Other buildings in its vicinity survived the war, but today, apart from 45 Sienna Street, only three tenement houses stand on the frontage. Between 1955 and 1959, the street was cut through with a wide thoroughfare, which resulted in its division into two sections and the removal of some of the surviving buildings. For years, the empty gable wall of the tenement on the side of Jana Pawła II Avenue has been covered with changing, huge murals. In July 2010, a work by the Italian artist Blu, who painted a battle scene with marionette soldiers, was created on it. In 2020, meanwhile, a mural commemorating Solidarity and the democratic changes in Poland and the Czech Republic was created on the wall of the annexe.
The Tenement House under the Sail in 1937 and today. Source: National Archives in Warsaw and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski
Corner of Złota Street and Marchlewskiego Street – today’s Jana Pawła II Street, Sienna Street in the distance. Years 1968 and 2024. the archive photo comes from the weekly Stolica no 35 (1082) 01.09.1968, and the new one from whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski
Sienna Street in 1968 and today. Source: NAC – National Digital Archive and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski
Sienna 45 tenement with Pewex mural in 1980 and today. “At this point Sienna is crossed by a traffic artery – Marchlewskiego Avenue” – the photo (scan) comes from the weekly Stolica no. 21 (1692) 25.05.1980
1970s and present day. View from Marchlewskiego (now Jana Pawła II) to a tenement at 45 Sienna Street with a mural-advertising Pewex and a work by the Italian artist Blu. Source: Museum of Warsaw and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski
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