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2005 | 18 | 87-104

Article title

Reinforced-Concrete Cathedrals of the Monumentalism. References to the Gothic in Polish Ecclesiastical Architecture of the 1930s


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The search for new methods of creating monumental expression is one of the most interesting phenomena in the architecture of the 1930s.The aim of this article is to demonstrate the presence of references to the Gothic tradition in the Polish ecclesiastical architecture of that period. The competitions for the project of the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw, which took place in the years 1929 and 1931, have a special importance for the further development of Polish ecclesiastical architecture of the 1930s, including the trend discussed here. Bohdan Pniewski, the winner of the second competition, did not use direct quotations from the Gothic: pointed arches, tracery or pinnacles, or even the skeleton construction of the shafts and ribs; instead, he tried to indicate the character of the Gothic architecture, for instance by stressing the spire-like slenderness of the silhouette by means of lizenes, which divided the façades into narrow, often concave segments. Only the huge stained-glass rosettes were a direct borrowing from the Gothic repertoire of forms. The forms façade proposed in his project for the Temple of Providence and the 1933 project for the Sea Basilica in Gdynia were readily imitated in Polish ecclesiastical architecture of the 1930s. e.g. in the 1932 project by Bronislaw Colonna Walewski of the Church of Christ the King in the Warsaw district of Targówek (never carried out). Analogies to Pniewski's competition project can also be found in the 1934 project by Franciszek Maczynski of the Church of St. Kazimierz the Prince in Cracow, which unfortunately was carried out only partially. To the reinforced-concrete cathedrals of Bohdan Pniewski referred the projects of the Lvov church of the Missionaries of St Vincent a Paulo by Waclaw Rembiszewski and associates, and by Tadeusz Teodorowiczow-Todorowski (completed only in part by 1939) as well as the Czestochowa church of St Anthony (1936-1939 and 1947-1956) by Zygmunt Gawlik. The Waclaw Lisowski's 1935 project of the new front façade of the Church of the Transfiguration in Lódz, Andrzej Boni's (Church of Mary's Purest Heart in Warsaw 1934-1941) and Wawrzyniec Dayczak (church in Lvov-Sygniówka) are mentioned as well.







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  • F. Burno, no address givrn, contact the journal editor


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