THE WAWELBERG BANK
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The building of the former Hipolit Wawelberg Bank, designed by Józef Pius Dziekoƒski, is situated in 6 Fredry Street, in the very centre of Warsaw. In 1975 it was listed in the register of historical monuments (no. 878). The object was erected in 1896 and up to the repairs and conservation conducted in 1997 it survived in a rather good technical state, albeit not evidenced by its outer appearance. The front elevation, devoid of plaster and architectural detail (removed in the 1960s), was by no means the highlight of the building and outright discouraged entering it. Meanwhile, the interior concealed an interesting and complicated spatial configuration, a variable level of storeys as well as extraordinarily rich and original outfitting: panelling, stucco, terracotta, window and door woodwork, technical facilities and strong-rooms. The building survived the second world war, but the successive institutions using it did not always respect the historical qualities of the object which they adapted to their own requirements. The solid of the building and its internal configuration were subjected to assorted changes. Despite divisions with partition walls or a thoughtlessly installed wiring system which damaged the stucco and the terra-cotta walls, the original appearance remained legible. The repair-modernisation and conservation conducted in 1995-1999 restored the former splendour of the building. Fortunately for the object and the conservators of historical monuments it not only regained its old appearance but also its original function: bank, residential and office. The programme- spatial conception of development and the subsequent technical project were devised by the architect Marek Wacławek. The range of the transformations, which could not be conducted at the price of a radical change of form and could not deprecate or reduce the value of the building, were outlined by the authors of this article. The prime principle of preserving the authentic historical substance had to be coordinated with the requirements and expectations of the investor and contemporary construction norms. The restoration of former excellence called for a complex co-operation of specialists representing assorted branches as well as mutual negotiations and compromises. The building of the former H. Wawelberg Bank is a positive example of the co-existence of modern contents with historical form. Sensible integration associated with professional execution produced an interesting whole, a source of prestige and distinction to the institutions housed therein (i. a. the Opera Holding Co., the Deloitte & Tou. Touch Co. and previously Citibank). The adaptation of the building is also an example quite different from the radical decisions recently popular in Warsaw, i.e. of a preservation of an historical building and not its total dismantling followed by the retention of the façade and designing a replica in accordance with contemporary norms.
- mgr, konserwator zabytków, absolwentka Wydziału Sztuk Pięknych Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu. Pracownik Wydawnictwa Naukowego PWN.
- mgr, konserwator zabytków, absolwentka Wydziału Sztuk Pięknych Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu. Pracownik KOBiDZ.
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