2004 | 5 | 33-57
Article title

Egyptomania and the Egyptian Revival Style in Polish Architecture. 'The Egyptian House' in Krakow

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In Polish architecture obelisks and pyramids showed up before the nineteenth century. They constituted a common motif in baroque architecture and many interesting examples are discussed by the authors. They give a detailed description of another example of Egyptian motifs in the Polish architecture i.e. 'Egyptian House' in Krakow. This house still exists, but the reconstruction that took place in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century deprived it of its characteristic wall decorations both in the interior and exterior of the building. The original plan of 1893 that clearly depicts the unusual architectural concept is still available at the Archiwum Panstwowe (State Archive) in Krakow. It is unclear who originated the concept of the 'Egyptian House'. Four names emerge in this context: an architect - K. Lachnik; an investor - Józef Kulesza; a master-builder - Benjamin Torbe; and its eventual owner - Joel Bauminger. We can only guess as to the flow of inspiration: it could have been Kulesza who ordered Lachnik to develop his own 'Egyptian' project or on the other hand Lachnik could have proposed his design to Kulesza. Only two photographs documenting the outdoor view of the House before its remodelling have been discovered. Today only a few traces remain of the former 'Egyptian House'; wooden doors, both at the main entrance door in Retoryka Street and on the Smolensk side, attract the attention of passers-by; they contain reliefs of lotus and papyrus stalks and winged solar disks with uraeuses. The two most impressive reminders of the 'Egyptian' times of this house are two preserved 'pharaoh' statues that have been removed from the portals.
  • I. Fischer, Archiwum Panstwowe w Krakowie, ul. Sienna 16, 30-960 Krakow, Poland
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