2007 | 6 | 125-136
Article title

MEDIEVAL ARCHITECTURAL FORMS IN LATE-19TH-CENTURY BUILDINGS OF KULDIGA (Viduslaiku arhitekturas formu izpausmes Kuldigas 19. gs. otras puses apbuve)

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Kuldiga (Goldingen) is one of Latvian towns whose historical-style buildings feature a particular, original accent valued by its inhabitants. Romantic images of buildings are possibly sought after more than in other small towns. Wooden and stone dwelling and public buildings are always constructed with taste, expressive details and elaborated small parts. One of the most interesting Neo-Gothic buildings is the Court House at 25 Kalna Street (c. 1880). It is a symmetrical two-storey building with a wide central projection, covered by a steep two-pitched roof. Stylistic forms are consistently realised in the splendid façade. Here we see both decorative small towers in the corners and middle part of the projection. Towers rise from the façade at the point where the first-floor ceiling rests, rising quite a lot above the cornice. Cornices entwining the upper part of openings are typically Neo-Gothic and all alike - with somewhat back-bended ends. The Court House could be compared with some buildings designed by Theodor Seiler who was active in Southern Kurzeme, surroundings of Talsi and Kuldiga. Kuldiga stands out by wide-spread use of towers in comparison with other Latvian towns. A massive three-storey tower with battlement and arcature decorates the corner of the building at 2 Pils Street (last quarter of the 19th century). Several important Neo-Gothic details are lost over time, still seen on photos from the 1950s. Kuldiga inhabitants know this Neo-Gothic house by the name of the town mayor Armin Theophil Adolphi. A corner tower similar to that of 2 Pils Street is seen also at 17 Kalna Street (2nd half of the 19th century) but no Neo-Romanesque or Neo-Gothic décor elements are found; they might have been lost during reconstructions. But the very idea of building a tower at the corner of a house dates back to medieval architecture. A bulky hexagonal tower is attached to the building at 35/37 Liepajas Street that is a part of the present hospital complex but from 1912 to 1932 housed a post office and the tower was used for the needs of telegraph.
  • Janis Zilgalvis, State Inspection for Heritage Protection, Maza Pils iela 19, Riga LV-1050, Latvia
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