Stories

"Drapacz chmur" in Katowice

by Anna wanna - 3 years, 6 months ago

Polish phrase "drapacz chmur" means nothing else than Skyscraper. But the one we can set eyes on at 15 Żwirki i Wigury Street in Katowice is not so average as we can think about. Probably it is the most famous skyscraper in Katowice. When you see that building on the photo You can ask "Why? It is not so high!". Well... This historical, seventeen stories building was the first skyscraper built in post-World War I Poland (till 1955) and one of the biggest in Europe. Today it is considered to be the most beautiful and impressive example of functionalism architecture in Poland. It was built between 1929 -1934 according to the project of Stefan Bryła (structural engineer) and Tadeusz Kozłowski (architect) which included innovative, steel construction. It was supposed to be a symbol of strong and powerful Upper Silesia and a sign o new era in modern architecture. What is more the pioneer solutions in construction was aimed at popularizing the use of steel in architecture and help for Silesian industry during the crisis years. In "drapacz chmur" everything was thoroughly designed. Three-storey, underground cellars with laundry and drying room were novelty in Polish architecture. On the first five floor was situated spacious and luxurious apartments for Polish Revenue Office employees, after the World War II were inhabited by Polish artists like Gustaw Holubek (actor) and Kazimierz Kutz (film director). On the next storeys also were situated roomy and extremely comfortable flats for families and studios for singles. The highest floor was occupied by stoker and men who take care of the lifts in the building. The reason why they were living on the top floor was easy. If stoker had not been applied to the work he would have been freezing at his flat. If man who need to take care of the lifts had not fulfilled his duties he would have to walked on foot up to the top of the building:) What is more on the top of the building (60 meter high) there is an enormous terrace from which spreads amazing view over the city. In the past Katowice was a city full of colourful neon so we can imagine how breathtaking was the scenery of the city in the night. Nowadays "drapacz chmur" for the average person looks like an ordinary, old building. But now I know how many surprises it hides inside:)


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