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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Kraków, Mazowiecka 64. The gate of a historic tenement house has disappeared, instead there are doors made of glass and plastic

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Only the skylight remains of the original entrance. The historic gate of the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street in Kraków was replaced by plastic and glass doors. The city conservator of monuments found the interference “unacceptable” and notified the building supervision. The problem is that although the tenement house is included in the municipal register of monuments, the conservator’s hands are tied. All because the city has not completed the draft local plan for this area for years.

10-storey blocks, gated estates, pavilions – and among all this, a tenement house stands out against them. Built in 1912, the building at 64 Mazowiecka Street in Krakow – the only one in this area entered into the municipal register of monuments – until recently enjoyed the eye with a climatic and well-maintained gate leading to the courtyard.

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He was happy because just before Easter the entrance to the tenement house changed beyond recognition. In place of the decorated, original doors, the owner put in new ones, matching the blocks of flats surrounding the monument rather than the representative of the modernized historicism, which is the tenement house at number 64.

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The historic gate of the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street in Krakow and its “modern” versionPlaying with time

“She was special”, the new one is “abomination”

The sight of the door made of glass and aluminum taken out of the block alive shocked Jakub Jastrzębski, the author of the Facebook profile “Playing with Time”, who went for a walk along Mazowiecka Street with his loved ones on Easter morning. He points out that he last saw the historic gate about two weeks before Christmas. – Passing by this building, we suddenly noticed that the original door disappeared, and in its place appeared modern, glass and aluminum – Jastrzębski reports in an interview with tvn24.pl.

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The historic gate of the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street in KrakowPlaying with time

A lover of the history of Krakow points out that the original gate was in good condition. “From what I hear, it underwent maintenance about a decade ago. Nothing indicates that it needs to be replaced. I understand that some people might not like her, but she was special. As one of the few in Krakow, it had decorations like those on the facade – emphasizes the author of “Playing with Time”. In his Facebook post, he describes the new gate as “a disgrace”.

Only the skylight has survived from the historical woodwork, contrasting with the plastic construction underneath.

The historic gate of the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street in KrakowPlaying with time

“Modern” entrance gate to a tenement house at Mazowiecka Street in KrakowPlaying with time

The municipal conservator is indignant, but also helpless

Jastrzębski reported the matter to the city conservator of monuments (MKZ), who – to the poviat building supervision inspectorate. In the opinion of the municipal conservator’s office, “introducing a gate with a changed form and divisions, or with a different color scheme is an unacceptable action, depreciating the appearance and historical, architectural and stylish values ​​of the building.” “This gate definitely lowers the historical value of the building and cannot be accepted from the conservation standpoint” – we read in response to our questions.

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The pre-war tenement house is entered in the municipal register of monuments. However, the conservator’s office admits that in the light of the applicable regulations, there are no effective tools to force the building owner to restore a historic element or to install one that would be a copy of the original.

The historic gate of the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street in KrakowPlaying with time

“It is therefore regrettable to say that in such cases, the monument protection services can only try to influence the property owners by informing about the appropriate conduct from the conservation standpoint” – the MKZ office informed us.

For years, they agreed on how to protect the monuments. The owner was faster

Why is the conservator’s hands tied, even though the building is entered in the municipal register of monuments?

According to the act, one of the forms of protection of historic buildings is an entry in the register of monuments – however, the tenement house from Mazowiecka is not included in this list. Another way of protection is the appropriate provisions in the local spatial development plan. The problem is that it has not been approved for years. The owner of the facility got rid of the gate in the majesty of the law.

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The historic gate of the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street in KrakowPlaying with time

When interfering with a building entered in the municipal register of monuments, the owner must obtain the consent of the construction supervision inspector in consultation with the voivodeship monument conservator. In this case, it was not necessary, because – as the MKZ office informs us – “replacement of the entrance gate to the tenement house does not require a building permit”.

The conservator could act if only this area was covered by the spatial development plan. However, the “Mazowiecka” plan has been in development for three years. After the collection of applications for this plan was completed in August 2020, they were considered only two years later. Just before the historical gate was removed from the tenement house at 64 Mazowiecka Street, the plan was sent “for another opinion and statutory arrangements”. It is to be ready and adopted in the second half of 2023.

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Why did it take so long? According to the Krakow magistrate, this is the result of, among other things, the “specificity” of this plan and … conservation arrangements. As the Spatial Planning Department explains, the project “was prepared on the basis of, among others, detailed conservation guidelines. The draft local plan of a protective nature required additional conservation consultations with the Voivodship Office for the Protection of Monuments and the Municipal Conservator of Monuments, which affected the schedule of drawing up the plan” .

According to the draft plan, officials wanted to cover the building with complete conservation protection – including the doors. Tenement houses, villas and houses in Cieszyńska Lubelska, Śląska and even Słowackiego Avenue are in a similar situation to the building at Mazowiecka 64. Many of them are entered in the communal register of monuments, but in practice many of their historical elements may disappear. And in the majesty of the law.

Jakub Jastrzębski from the “Playing with Time” profile points out that the building at 64 Mazowiecka Street is a copy of another tenement house – at 23 Siemiradzkiego Street. – It is also very interesting. The gate has recently undergone maintenance. It has been repainted and decorated with copies of sunflowers from baskets for pots, she points out.

The gate of the tenement house at Siemiradzkiego Street in Krakow after conservationPlaying with time

Author:Bartholomew Plewnia

Main photo source: Playing with time



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