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Polish House

Stanislav Bandrowski

alias Dom Polski
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1900 | construction


Stanislav Bandrowski |main architect
Jiří Smejkal |architect


While the  Czech National House and German Houses came into existence in the 1890s as a result of mutual struggle and animosity by an endeavour to construct a culture centre for  Moravská Ostrava, the Polish minority acquired its cultural  sanctuary not before the turn of the 19th and 20th century. It was the Polish House, built according to the design by Cracow architect Stanislaw  Bandrowski. The construction of the building was carried out from 1899 until August 1900. The ceremonial opening of the Polish House took place on 8th and 9th September of 1900, when the Cracow touring company of  Ludwik Czystogórski performed three  one-act plays.

Bandrowski’s  design of the new building was inspired by the work of   prominent Cracow architect of that time Teodor Marian Talowski, who combined the late revival architecture with elements of the incoming Art Nouveau  not only in the composition but in details as well. Whereas Talowski’s work is distinguished by an expression that is architecturally  refined, Bandrowski was concentrated on peculiarities and creation of variations from elements that did not mutually  match. This downright eclectic method meant exploitation of patterns, not their creative transformation.

The house with a L-shaped ground plan and with a corner tower is concentrated around this diagonal axial composition a the motif of a tower, covered by a cupola roof with a decorative grid. The building with plain brickwork is freshened up with a contrast of bricks and brightly painted surfaces, conceived as a display of stucco elements of revival architecture expression. In this, Bandrowski used elements, designed  in Classicist and Neo- Romanesque style, of cornices, gables, porticos, frontons and pommels with vegetable details.  The architect endeavoured to create a picturesque character of the whole through alternation of various forms – for instance, he combined horizontal lintels with segmental and semi-circular vaults by window openings, so none of these elements would not become predominant and prevail the diversity of the whole.

The main east elevation to the Poděbradova Street has been given a shallow bay, highlighted by a Diocletian window of the main hall. The square bay is flanked on both sides by massive pilasters carrying a cornice with a small triangular gable with sculpture decoration. A couple of massive spheres with reliefs of the Polish eagle is abutted onto the cornice on the sides. The relation between the large window of the hall, small gable, massive pilasters and embossed decoration is based on a cacophony, not on harmonic handling of the whole. A hip roof above this section of the house is topped by a decorative grid, characteristically for its significance within the entire building. The historical and actual and first of all symbolical role of the Polish House was accented by such elements as parts of brickwork from Cracow ramparts having been demolished shortly before, inserted into the plain brickwork  - this was meant to make reference not only to Polish cultural and national but also political ambitions in the given context. There is a hall of 16 × 9,5 m in size in the south wing of the Polish House. A shallow rectangular stage of 9 × 5,5 × 9 × 6 m size served to occasional theatre and musical performances. The hall is opened by a large French window into the Poděbradova Street from the west side. A restaurant and cafeteria were adjoined to the hall from the west side, a small hall, accessible directly from the vestibule, from the north. The present state of the hall and interior is not known to the author, because the building is not used and accessible for a long  period of time.  

The Polish House did not acquire such importance as two other national centres – the Czech National House, the Theatre of Jiří Myron in present, and the German House, demolished after the end of the Second World War.

 Architect Stanislaw  Bandrowski worked in Cracow for some time. Apart of the Polish House in Moravská Ostrava , he constructed a building of the Spa of Sofie there for  builder Dr. Waclaw  Seidl, a native Pole from Cracow, significantly engaged in the creation of the Polish House.  This very bizarre building, conceived in Neo-Romanesque style  also with Art Nouveau elements, used to stand across from the Polish House and developed the expression of the opposite building by its layout. The Spa of Sofie was torn down during  redevelopment in the 1970s and the very same fate threatened the Polish House as well. A reconstruction and extension with resonance of post-modern forms represents  local reception of a new style emerging during “perestroika”, however, carried out after 1989. Its significance lies in the fact that it lead to preservation of the given building and proved a possibility of rehabilitation of the buildings from the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.


Sources and literature:

–  Úřad městského obvodu Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz, spisovna Stavebního úřadu, katastrální území Moravská Ostrava, složka čp. 1152

 –  Blažena Gracová, K počátkům Polského domu v Ostravě, in: Ostrava: Sborník příspěvků k dějinám a výstavbě města 10, Ostrava 1979, s. 294–311

–  Jindřich Vybíral, Zrození velkoměsta: Architektura v obraze Moravské Ostravy 1890–1938, Ostrava 1997, s. 12–13

–  Pavel Zatloukal, O Moravské Ostravě jako „rezervaci“ architektury pozdní secese a art déco, in: Ostrava: Příspěvky k dějinám a současnosti Ostravy a Ostravska 18, Ostrava 1997, s. 165

–  Pavel Zatloukal, Příběhy z dlouhého století: Architektura let 1750–1918 na Moravě a ve Slezsku, Olomouc 2002, s. 459–467

–  Jindřich Vybíral, Zrození velkoměsta: Architektura v obraze Moravské Ostravy 1890–1938, Brno – Ostrava 2003, s. 33–35

–  JŠt [Jiří Štefanides], Divadelní budovy a sály, in: Kulturněhistorická encyklopedie Slezska a severovýchodní Moravy I (A–M), Ostrava 2005, s. 191

–  Martin Strakoš, Průvodce architekturou Ostravy, Ostrava 2009, s. 139

–  http://ostrava.idnes.cz/secesni-klenot-ostravy-ceka-znovuzrozeni-polsky-dum-se-bude-opravovat-1n3-/ostrava-zpravy.aspx?c=A120127_1723499_ostrava-zpravy_jog


Tags: Austria-Hungary, Belle Époque, Fin de siècle


Author: Strakoš Martin

Translator: Jan Purkert

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