Warsaw. Laser cleaned sgraffito. Renovation of a pre-war villa on Myśliwiecka Street


The villa at Myśliwiecka 10, built in the 1920s, has undergone a thorough renovation. The facade and roof of the building will be refreshed. However, sgraffito decorations are cleaned using the laser method.

The building at Myśliwiecka 10 was built around 1925. Its first inhabitants were Zygmunt Kamiński, a graphic artist, painter, co-creator and long-time dean of the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology and professor of the Academy of Fine Arts, and Zofia Trzcińska-Kamińska, a sculptor, medalist, one of the few soldiers of the Polish Legions.

“Like most of the buildings in the Professors’ Colony, the building refers to manor architecture. During the search for a national style that rejected the foreign influences of the partition period, it was very fashionable. The facade of the house is decorated with a sgraffito decoration depicting allegories of painting and sculpture, made by Zygmunt Kamiński. On the wall from the side On the street there is a bas-relief of the Virgin Mary by Zofia Trzcińska-Kamińska,” we read in a statement from the capital conservator’s office.

After the war, rebuilt under the supervision of the owners

Although the villa suffered damage during World War II, the vast majority of the monument survived. After 1945, the house was extended and the hipped roof was replaced with a higher, gable one. The idea was to increase the living space and accommodate additional tenants.

The original owners participated in both its reconstruction and repair of the sgraffito decorations. “A memento of these works is the addition of the date 1948 in the decoration field above the central window, above the inscription 1925 that was previously there. The cornice, preserved during the reconstruction, which crowned the building’s façade before the war, is also a testimony to the complex history of the house,” the city conservator’s office said.

Laser cleaned sgraffito

In March 2023, the Warsaw Council awarded two subsidies for the renovation of the monument: over PLN 172,000. PLN for the facade and decorations and almost PLN 222,000. PLN for refreshing the roof and the post-war fragment of the facade above the cornice. Additionally, PLN 14,000 was awarded in August. PLN to reimburse part of the project implementation costs.

It was decided to clean the dirty and damaged sgraffito decorations with a laser, which reduced the risk of accidental damage to detached fragments.

“This technique brought a very good effect even on heavily damaged, delaminated fragments and revealed the beautiful, deep black of the base layers. At the same time, conservators made a surprising discovery – under the black base, a layer of material in an intense, deep red color was revealed. Probably, initially it was planned to decorate this unusual color scheme. However, this layer is very unstable and falls off easily. Perhaps this was the reason for the decision to cover it with a much more durable black plaster. Additionally, after cleaning, the decoration shows traces of paint which the authors of the decoration used to enhance the artistic expression of the sgraffito” – described by city conservators.

Discovery on the wall from the garden side

The original brick-red plaster mortar was discovered on the garden façade. The sgraffito decorations on this side are in worse condition than those on the street.

“Moreover, while the post-war repairs of the front decorations were carried out by the Kamińskis themselves, maintaining the original style and high quality of the drawing, numerous, later interventions by other contractors are visible from the garden. During the ongoing conservation works, it will be necessary to perform more repairs and additions in this place ” – explained in the announcement.

Work on the roof, there will be new tiles

The conservator’s office admitted that in the post-war part of the building, conservators encountered typical problems for construction of that period. Both the roof and the external walls were built at a time when the construction industry was struggling with a shortage of materials. At that time, work was not always carried out in accordance with the art of construction.

“The roof truss structure was made of medium-quality wood, which, combined with a leaky roofing, led to significant damage,” it was reported.

During the ongoing renovation, the truss was strengthened and the roof will soon be equipped with new plain tiles, referring to the original roofing from the 1940s. Works at ul. Myśliwiecka 10 will last until November 2023.

Main photo source: UM Warszawa

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