Regeneration of a historic city block: the example of the relocation of the historic Atelier building to the cloister area of the Congregation of the Resurrection in Krakow

Open access

Abstract

The article discusses a project that features the relocation of the historic Atelier building, built by Krakow-based architect Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) who was active in the early twentieth century, and the regeneration of a plot belonging to the Congregation of the Resurrection since 1885, which is located at 12 Łobzowska Street in Krakow. The method includes cutting the entire structure off at the foundation and then after reinforcing it with a steel structure transporting it in its entirety to the new location. The project included two possible variants of moving the building in a straight line, either by 21 or 59 metres and evaluates two projects of further regeneration, the adaptive reuse of the building as an exhibition and religious space as well as a proposal for the remodelling of the nearby plot that belongs to the Congregation into a space for meditation and as a recreational park. The aim of these measures is to prevent the demolition of this building, now over a century old, as a result of which a forgotten element of the cultural heritage of the city will be saved. This project was based on the results of analyses of the cultural and historical conditions of Krakow. The block of buildings in which the Atelier in question is located is a very attractive location, near to the very centre of Krakow, adjacent to residential, service and educational buildings. It is directly adjacent to the Monastery Complex of the Congregation of the Resurrection, listed as a heritage building under conservation protection (municipal registry of heritage buildings). In the second half of the twentieth century, the building was used as a workroom by artists such as Xawery Dunikowski and later by the sculptress Teodora Stasiak. The case of the Atelier may provide an inspiration for discussion as well as raising awareness among citizens and city authorities to avoid future situations in which cultural heritage may become forgotten or demolished.

Introduction

The building of the historic Atelier, which is the subject of the relocation project, is located at 12 Łobzowska Street, in the very centre of Piasek, one of Krakow’s historic districts. The street has existed since the fifteenth century and has a strong historical and architectural identity. The block of buildings in which the Atelier in question is located also possesses high-value natural assets – the gardens located within it. In this place, the centuries-old history of the city of Krakow and the history of the Congregation of the Resurrection interweave with one another. The area which is the subject of the project includes the Atelier that is to be relocated, on plot No. 106/8, as well as other plots, numbered: 106/3, 106/9, 106/13. The boundaries of the study site are defined by Stefana Batorego Street to the north, the Monastery of the Congregation of the Resurrection to the south, Łobzowska Street to the east and the gardens of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites to the west. The gross area of the site is 3480 square metres. The area currently features a car park and an internal road that leads to the monastery buildings (Fig. 1.).

Figure 1
Figure 1

Map of the project site, with the current placement of the Atelier building marked in red

Source: own study, base map source: Google Maps

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

When discussing the historical and artistic value of the area, it is necessary to mention the church of St. Peter the Small, which existed there from the middle of the fifteenth century together with a cemetery (Hodor 2012). It was destroyed three times over the centuries, eventually being demolished (in 1809) together with the cemetery and transformed into urban gardens. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Congregation of the Resurrection became interested in this area (Rożek 1983). The architect who oversaw the establishment of the monastery was Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) (Petrus 2011). The church was placed in a remodelled tannery building, built in accordance with a design by J. Ochmański, in 1869. The facade on Łobzowska Street was redesigned, its form adapted to its function as a church. However, the residential part was placed in a remodelled section and a chapel was added. The settlement of the Congregation of the Resurrection in this location can be interpreted as a continuation of the religious character of this area. Both churches (of St. Peter the Small and the one now belonging to the Resurrectionists) stood on practically the same site (Fig. 2.). The fact is that, according to tradition, the cemetery, although liquidated, is still physically present in this area, although in a changed form.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Comparison of a map from the ‘Plan Kołłątajowski’ with the St. Peter the Small church with the cemetery marked in yellow, and the present map of Krakow with the Monastery of the Congregation of the Resurrection marked in red and present location of Atelier building marked in blue

Source: own study, base maps source: Stare mapy Krakowa i okolic and Małopolska Infrastruktura Informacji Przestrzennej

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

Born in Krakow, Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) began his career as an architect in the 1870s. He was a representative of eclecticism. The monastery buildings designed by him are adjacent to his own tenement house, which was erected in 1886. In 1911, he began his own construction of a one-storey rear building in the yard, which is labelled as a ‘Brick Gazebo’ on a technical drawing (Fig. 3.). For such a small and irrelevant structure (because it was located on the garden side, not on the frontage on Łobzowska Street), the building has a beautiful shape, which is reminiscent of a small church or chapel. It is possible to read the division between the main nave and the two sides of the apse from the building›s architecture.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Design of the brick gazebo (1911) by Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) from the National Archive in Krakow

Source: Beringer 1911

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

Apart from its architectural value, it is also rich in symbolic values. The history of this building remained undiscovered from its inception until the post-war years. In the 90s of the twentieth century, the artist sculptor Teodora Stasiak rented the brick gazebo building which she called a dilapidated ‘chapel’ for use as her atelier. The term atelier stands for an artistic workroom and studio. The artist’s presence added an unquestionable value to the history of this space. The building was in bad technical condition at the time. It had holes in the roof structure, it lacked floors. The artist tried to renovate the building as much as she could. In her memoirs, she mentioned, among other things, the story of cow’s blood from a nearby slaughterhouse which had increased the durability of the old brick during renovation, or the beautiful mosaic stained glass which had been located in the main window of the building (it was later stolen). In the stained-glass window there was an image of Jesus Christ, while other religious elements could be found inside the building. All these stories contribute to the legend that this place had a religious function at some stage of its existence. Perhaps it was adapted for this purpose at some point during the Resurrectionist period. However, it was an artistic workshop of a sculptor and a meeting place with students and other artists up to the 1990s (Fig. 4.). It is also known that for a period of time before the sculptress rented the place, the building was used for the same purpose by a famous artist Xawery Dunikowski.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Interior and frontal view of the Atelier building

Source: photo by Lucjan Bartkowiak (2012)

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

The relocation can be carried out in two ways. The first one involves the demolition and reconstruction of the building at the target site, the second one involves cutting the entire structure off at the foundation, and then moving it (after reinforcing it with a steel structure, bracing the building) as one element – either by crane or on special transport rollers. Moving the whole structure, though more difficult and risky, is much faster and retains its original character almost completely. In the case of historic buildings erected in brick technology, demolition is usually ruled out (Wesołowski 2016). Due to the conditions described above, the method of relocating the structure in its entirety was chosen for the Atelier.

The aim of this paper is to compare two variants of a structure translocation plan and two projects for the further renovation of the historic Atelier building. In addition, the purpose of this article is to show the cultural and historical values of the building being examined in order to be able to save it from destruction. The decision to relocate the structure was made because of the danger of it being demolished because of the development plans associated with the nearby tenement house, which is the private property of a third-party. The developer needs to remove the Atelier due to plans to expand the tenement houses located on the same plot. Because the building is not yet listed as a heritage building under conservation control, it can be demolished. However both sides, the developer and the Congregation of the Resurrection, are aware of the value of this place and they are considering agreeing on the relocation of the structure. This building has to be preserved as an example of the cultural heritage of Krakow, even if it means relocating the structure in its entirety. The project has significant value because it uses an approachable method of protecting historic buildings. The building’s urban and historical context create the potential for future exhibitions and recreation.

Research and project assumptions

The research methods applied by the authors included gathering historical and practical information by reviewing published materials, interviews with practitioners from multiple related disciplines, and personal observation. The idea behind the project was based on archival and historical studies, the aim of which was to uncover the history of the Atelier through the history of the Piasek district. The information known so far was based only on oral transmission. To justify the design, it was necessary to procure archival documentation on the design of the tenement house at 12 Łobzowska Street. By comparing the present map of the city with historical maps, it was possible to discover the former location of the church of St. Peter the Small and its nearby cemetery. The next stage of the study was to perform a survey of the building. This step was important in relation to the selection of the method used for the building’s relocation. The assessment of the technical condition of the building and studies of the materials used in the project proved valuable. These analyses, together with the photographic documentation prepared as part of the building survey, became the foundation for the author’s technical drawings of the Atelier as plans, elevation views and cross-sections necessary for further work. After analysing the information, a decision was made on the form in which the preparatory work would be carried out, as well as concerning the design of the protective structure that would be built before performing the relocation. To increase the cultural heritage value of the project, the final stage included the adaptation of the building’s interior, along with the revitalisation of the area owned by the Congregation of the Resurrection (Doratil 2004). The decision on the new function of the Atelier was made on the basis of an analysis of the history of the place, as well as of the urban context and the form of the building itself. The project for developing the plot belonging to the Congregation of the Resurrection was based on the idea of creating a space where the monks and people visiting the relocated building can exist together. The garden was divided into a public part and a private one inspired by mediaeval garths.

Analysis

A number of analyses, including an analysis of the urban context as well as research concerning the existing condition of both the plot and the Atelier building, permitted the optimal design solutions and the type of transformation necessary to bring new life to cultural heritage (Internationals Council on Monuments and Sites [ICOMOS] 2008) to be selected.

The social demand for this type of investment in Krakow is high as the city will gain a new green area with cultural and recreational assets near to the city centre. At the moment there are not enough spaces of this nature in Krakow’s Old Town.

The site is located in a very attractive location, near the very centre of Krakow, adjacent to residential, service and educational buildings. It is directly adjacent to the Monastery Complex of the Congregation of the Resurrection, listed as a heritage building under conservation (municipal registry of heritage buildings) protection. The monastery was built in the years 1885–1891 as an adaptation of a tannery that had previously stood there. The main entrance to the site is from Stefana Batorego Street. Most of the plot is occupied by self-sown plants and grass. The general aesthetics of the space can be rated as average.

Historical studies have shown that the building that is to be relocated was designed in 1911 by the architect Wandalin Beringer as a brick gazebo. The project involved the construction of a one-story building made of brick. It consisted of a main body, covered with a hipped roof, and an adjacent smaller entrance section, which connects it to a neighbouring tenement house.

The analysis of the site has shown that it is located on the site of a former municipal cemetery and in the vicinity of the no-longer-extant Church of St. Peter the Small, which served as a cemetery chapel.

The analysis the technical condition of the existing building has shown that the roofing is made of ceramic tiles that are in satisfactory condition. The roof does not need additional protection during the building transfer operation. The load-bearing system of the building consists of exterior walls made of brick (30x15x8 cm) that are 60 and 45 cm wide, and a 45-cm-thick internal wall perpendicular to them. The building is built on brick-laid footings, transferring the load to the natural soil below, while the floor in the building was made in the form of concrete screed. The doors and windows are made of wood. Two door openings have been walled in from the inside (with the door outside), in the first case only the door frame has been left, while in the second – the entire door. A smaller entrance section adjoins the main body of the building, which touches the neighbouring tenement house. For the building relocation to be possible, it is necessary to demolish the smaller part of the building and its inner wall to a level of + 2.65. The door and window openings should not be walled in order to make the building as light as possible. Before commencing with the relocation, it is necessary to disconnect all internal installations in the building from the external grids and to build foundations at the target location of the building. The decision to move the whole structure (even though this method is more difficult and risky) instead of demolishing it and reconstructing it at the target site was taken to ensure that it retains its original character almost completely.

Relocation

The main design principle is to move the building of the historic Atelier in a straight line by either 21 or 59 metres, depending on the site development option chosen by the developer at a later stage of the project. The approximate cost of both variants is PLN 500,000. The building will eventually be located on either the eastern or western side of the internal road running through the area belonging to the Order of the Resurrection (Fig. 5.). In both variants it will be necessary to cut or replant several existing shrubs, which have no great value. Despite the large complexity and atypical nature of the relocation procedure, this method is practically the only solution that allows the Atelier, which is in danger of demolition, to continue to exist (Goblet 2006). All the details of the relocation procedure were consulted with a structural engineer specialising in this field.

Figure 5
Figure 5

Schematic diagram of the two possible new locations of the building

A – present location of the Atelier building, B – first variant of a new location of Atelier building moved by 21 metres, C – second variant of a new location of Atelier building moved by 59 metres, D – church of the Congregation of the Resurrection

Source: own study, base map source: Małopolska Infrastruktura Informacji Przestrzennej

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

The assembly of steel bracing elements that are designed to increase the rigidity of the building is standard practice. Critical points of the structure include the windows and door openings as well as the level at which the structure is cut off from its foundations. At this level, a steel frame bracing the underside of the structure should be attached to the building. It will operate as a temporary foundation of the cut-off structure (Curtis 1979).

The entire structure of the Atelier building weighs approximately 15 tons. It will be braced with steel elements. It is planned to secure the building with a UP section 200 perimeter at up to 5 levels, depending on the height of individual walls, symmetrically both inside and on the outside. The whole structure will be circumferentially reinforced at the cut-off level against the action of hydraulic jacks, acting synchronously with each other to symmetrically lift the structure off the ground. The raised structure should be fastened (perpendicular to the main axis of the building) to two HEB 300x300 I-sections (about 3 metres from the external walls of the building), which will be used to move the building. A door on the west side, a larger window on the north side and the opening formed after the demolition of the entrance section of the building should be additionally secured with a peripheral structure made of 200 UNP C-Profiles and closed using 160x160 profiles in the form of a Saint Andrew’s cross. Additionally, the structure will be secured with 200x200 brackets in the corners and diagonally, with UNP 200 C-sections, on the northern wall. Before demolition, the internal wall will be reinforced at +2.65 with two UPN 200 C-Profiles connected with bolts. All elements will be fastened with 8.8 bolts or welded together.

A trench will be dug along the route along which the building will be transported to accommodate two rails on which the structure will be transported on special rollers (101.6x16 drawn pipes). The trench should be reinforced with Φ50 steel pipes filled with an injection of reinforced concrete (approximately every 1 metre) prior to laying the rails. The relocation will involve shifting the transport rollers westwards while the building moves towards its new location (Fig. 6.).

Figure 6
Figure 6

Cross-section of the Atelier with the steel bracing elements necessary for the building’s relocation

Source: own study

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

After placing the structure on the new site, it will need to be anchored to its new foundations. The stabilising structures should be removed after the building has been placed in situ and the holes left by fixing screws should be masked. After performing an inspection, comprehensive conservation procedures should be applied, restoring the former aesthetic appearance and technical condition of the building. It is also necessary to landscape the area around the building, backfilling and paving the trench. The next step is to adapt the relocated building to its new function.

A similar operation of this type carried out in Poland was a relocation of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Warsaw, which took place on December 1, 1962. It was the first relocation of a sacred building in Europe. Due to the plans to rebuild Warsaw, the monument lay in the way of investment and had to be removed. Weighing almost 7,000 tons, the structure was moved 21 metres during one night (Relocation of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Warsaw). The second spectacular example of the relocation of a brick structure is the rotation of the Lubomirski Palace in Warsaw. In 1970 the location of the building was changed in such a way that its colonnade closed the perspective of the main avenue of the Saxon Garden. This operation lasted up to a month and a half, and the building was turned 74 degrees (Majewski 2015). Relocation of structures is mostly resorted to when the development of urban areas requires the need to adapt public spaces to the new needs of their residents, but the building cannot be demolished due to its high cultural or historic value (Peltola 2008).

Adaptation

Based on historical and cultural analyses and a survey of the building, the optimal solution is to adapt the Atelier to a religious or exhibition space of a religious nature (Giorgi 2017). The project has two variants. Both assume the adaptation of the building into a religious space. The newly-designed chapel has a floor area of 36.0 m2(Tab. 1.).

Table 1

Comparative analysis of two alternative methods of adapting the Atelier

CriteriaVariant IVariant II
• total usable floor area –97.8m2• total usable floor area – 54.5m2
• extension through the addition of• addition of social facilities –circulation and a toilet
a circulation section• chapel of a floor area of
Characteristic• extension through the addition of a basement• 36 m2
• chapel with a floor area of
• 36 m2
Possible conflict situations• archaeological survey due the addition of a basement• archaeological survey (on much smaller scale then variant I)
Assessment of the project’s chance of success• this option has been considered more for educational reasons due to higher costs and the possibility of archaeological problems occurring• highly likely – variant has been chosen by the developer
Cost estimation• cost ranges from PLN 300,000 to PLN 1 million• approximate cost is PLN 20,000
Advantages• additional exhibition space on Level –1• high chance of the project being implemented
Disadvantages• high costs• not much additional space for exhibition purposes
Summary• variant I, although it provides greater opportunities to develop the space due to the additional exhibition space, is expensive and difficult to implement due to possible archaeological problems• variant II has been chosen by the developer and has a high chance of success
Source: own study

The first variant takes into account a basement and an extension through the addition of a transparent circulation section. The form of the part being added is transparent, so as to minimise interference with the historic shape of the building (Fig. 7.).

Figure 7
Figure 7

Visualization of the Atelier building adapted according to Variant II

Source: own study

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

Due to the limited funds available to the monastery of the Congregation of the Resurrection, a second variant of the building, excluding a basement, was proposed. The project envisages the adaptation of the Atelier building for religious functions and the addition of social facilities –circulation and a toilet. The form of the part being added is mostly transparent, so as not to interfere with the historical shape.

Variant I is much more expensive due to the cost of the basement, while option II assumes a foundation composed of only a slab footing and micropiles. The project is an interesting example of giving a new function to a building in which the space is adapted to a new religious function, while generally the phenomenon currently predominant in Europe is to adapt religious buildings that are no longer used as originally intended to fulfil new functions (Albani 2017). However, all these actions are mostly motivated by the desire to protect valuable architecture from demolition. This is an important practice because of the problem affecting the majority of contemporary Polish cities – the proliferation of worthless examples of contemporary architecture that reduce the value of public spaces, while the overriding value should be the preservation of cultural heritage (Jäger 2010).

Revitalization

The revitalization presented in this paper is understood as a process of regeneration of a degraded area through comprehensive actions includes regeneration of physical space, the natural environment, and the social environment. The design of the development of the site, owned by the Congregation of the Resurrection, has been based on the idea of creating a space where the monks and the people visiting the Atelier building can co-exist together (Alexander 1977). The integration of various functions in the garden space will allow different social groups to stimulate and inspire each other, giving this place a great chance of coming to life within the space of the city (Zachariasz 2008). The park complex includes a geometric garth-type garden and a freeform landscape park with a flower meadow. All visitors will have the opportunity to rest in the public layout of the park and see the Atelier building. This space will also be dedicated to organised cultural and religious events accessible to everyone. The second part of the garden is a private space meant for the residents of the Monastery. It is inspired by mediaeval gardens in its form and function. This garden is enclosed in a quadrilateral; it adjoins the walls of the monastery and is separated from the public section by vines forming a kind of fence. A fountain, located on the main axis of the project, is a symbolic accent which fuses these two spaces together. This space is meant to be focused, to be a place to quieten down and meditate (Fig. 9.).

Figure 8
Figure 8

Design of the layout of the new park

A – flower meadow, B – Holy Mary monument, C – pond, D – vine fence, E – parking for residents, F – fountain, G – monastery, H – church, I – Atelier building

Source: own study

Citation: Urban Development Issues 63, 1; 10.2478/udi-2019-0018

Concluding remarks

The relocation of a building is a technical, financial, legal and social problem. This paper discusses a project for the relocation of the historic Atelier building to a new site nearby, along with the regeneration of the monastery grounds of the Congregation of the Resurrection in Krakow, to preserve the forgotten, over a century-old, cultural heritage of Krakow in its original version and to save it from potential demolition or detrimental reconstruction or remodelling. The project includes two possible alternatives for moving the building in a straight line, either by 21 or 59 metres, and evaluates two projects for further regeneration. Both variants assume the adaptation of the building into a religious space. The first variant takes into account the basement and an extension through the addition of a transparent circulation section. The second project envisages the adaptation of the Atelier building for religious functions and the addition of social facilities – circulation. Although the first one provides greater opportunities for development of the area due to the additional exhibition space, it is expensive and difficult to implement due to the high likelihood of a large-scale archaeological survey. The relocation method itself, unpopular and currently rarely used in Poland, is an important element. Its popularisation as a standard method used in this type of case will allow many valuable buildings to be saved in the future.

Next stage of the project is a proposal for the remodelling of the nearby plot that belongs to the Congregation into a meditation space and recreational park. Historical research proves the sacred character of this area since the fifteenth century. The analysis of the site has shown that the whole area is the site of a former municipal cemetery and that it lies in the vicinity of the no-longer-extant church of St. Peter the Small, which served as a cemetery chapel. Later at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Congregation of the Resurrection established a monastery there.

This project is significant due to the cultural and historical considerations associated with the Atelier building, as well as the potential for future exhibitions and recreation. The building, currently located in the courtyard of the urban block, is completely hidden, deteriorating both technically and aesthetically. Originally designed as a brick gazebo in 1911 by Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) it has a beautiful shape, which is reminiscent of a small church or chapel. The history of this building remained undiscovered from its inception until the postwar years. In the 90s of the twentieth century, the artist sculptor Teodora Stasiak adapted the building for use as her workroom. It is also known that for a period of time before the sculptress rented the place, it was used for the same purpose by Xawery Dunikowski, a famous Polish sculptor.

After the eventual carrying out of the project, residents and tourists visiting Krakow will gain a new, regenerated area with cultural and recreational assets near the city centre. There is a high social demand for spaces of this nature in the city of Krakow.

In this way, the history of this place will be preserved for Krakow residents, tourists and future generations. This place has a chance to become a new tourist attraction in the region and the city. In the context of raising awareness to ensure that one avoids situations in which interesting sites become forgotten, the Atelier case study could provide an inspiration for discussion in the field of building relocation methods.

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If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

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Journal information
Figures
  • View in gallery

    Map of the project site, with the current placement of the Atelier building marked in red

    Source: own study, base map source: Google Maps

  • View in gallery

    Comparison of a map from the ‘Plan Kołłątajowski’ with the St. Peter the Small church with the cemetery marked in yellow, and the present map of Krakow with the Monastery of the Congregation of the Resurrection marked in red and present location of Atelier building marked in blue

    Source: own study, base maps source: Stare mapy Krakowa i okolic and Małopolska Infrastruktura Informacji Przestrzennej

  • View in gallery

    Design of the brick gazebo (1911) by Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) from the National Archive in Krakow

    Source: Beringer 1911

  • View in gallery

    Interior and frontal view of the Atelier building

    Source: photo by Lucjan Bartkowiak (2012)

  • View in gallery

    Schematic diagram of the two possible new locations of the building

    A – present location of the Atelier building, B – first variant of a new location of Atelier building moved by 21 metres, C – second variant of a new location of Atelier building moved by 59 metres, D – church of the Congregation of the Resurrection

    Source: own study, base map source: Małopolska Infrastruktura Informacji Przestrzennej

  • View in gallery

    Cross-section of the Atelier with the steel bracing elements necessary for the building’s relocation

    Source: own study

  • View in gallery

    Visualization of the Atelier building adapted according to Variant II

    Source: own study

  • View in gallery

    Design of the layout of the new park

    A – flower meadow, B – Holy Mary monument, C – pond, D – vine fence, E – parking for residents, F – fountain, G – monastery, H – church, I – Atelier building

    Source: own study

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