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Metamorphosis of a tenement house in Chorzow

Wiktor Bochenek
07 of March '23

The Black Tenement in Chorzów was the result of a metamorphosis of an older building. Practically everything about it has changed—from the facade, the massing to the layout. How did the building affect its immediate surroundings?

The building, located on Stefan Batory Street, stood for many years scaring the residents of Chorzów. Conceptual and design work on the redevelopment of the building began back in 2019, and a year later construction work began. As a result, the small building was raised and leveled, and the usable area was more than doubled.

Czarna kamienica w Chorzowie

Black townhouse in Chorzów

© GVL Estate Investment

Piotr Zablocki (Rese Architects) talks about the tenement's redevelopment, the choice of materials, the change in functionality and the tenement's impact on the city.

Wiktor Bochenek: Previously, another building stood on the site of the „Black Tenement House”. How did it influence the project?

Piotr Zablocki: Not exactly different—the „black tenement” investment is in fact a reconstruction of an old 100-year-old tenement—it is still there, only that it has been expanded and heavily refreshed.

Wizualizacja budynku

visualization of the building

© GVL Estate Investment

Wiktor: Why did you decide on black clinker brick for the facade?

Piotr: The clinker façade is the golden mean for this type of renovation of a historic building, allowing us to preserve the character of the building after external thermal insulation without significantly increasing the thickness of the masonry and thus the footprint of the building. It should be noted here that the project in question uses the existing walls of the historic building which already stood in the frontage of the development—this is quite a significant limitation, but also a challenge to properly design the building envelope. The color of the facade, in turn, is the result of reference to the character of the place and the immediate neighborhood and surroundings.

Tak wyglądał budynek przed przebudową

this is what the building looked like before redevelopment

© GVL Estate Investment

Wiktor: How did the remodeling affect the functionality of the building, comparing to the state of the building before the neglect? How were the new functions distributed in it?

Piotr: The functional layout of the building remained essentially unchanged, the functions gained a new dimension and standard, and more residential floors arrived. The first floor of the building has commercial premises and the upper floors have apartments for rent. Larger changes took place in the outbuilding which originally served as an outbuilding and today is a residential building with garage spaces.

Czarna kamienica w Chorzowie

courtyard before reconstruction

© GVL Estate Investment

Wiktor: How has the building, having changed in size, affected the street frontage?

Piotr: I think it has had a positive impact, and it has certainly adjusted and raised the overall standard. Originally, the building was much lower than the surrounding buildings, which made it a certain breach in the rather uniform, at least in terms of dimensions, development of the frontage of Stefan Batory Street in Chorzow. At present, the building is a fill-in in this development, and thanks to its uniform non-outward-looking facade, the building harmonizes perfectly in this compact urban environment.

Wiktor: Theattention is drawn to the square, haven't you thought about introducing more greenery? The current one, however, gives the impression of being dwarfed.

Piotr: The snag is that by designing apartments without parking spaces, given current urban realities, we are causing more damage than by not designing green squares. We are talking about a typical problem in cities like Chorzow where one weighs what is more crucial—parking spaces or greenery. Considering that there is a square and a playground in the immediate vicinity of the building, parking spaces were more important in this place causing the whole investment to have a right to exist.

Czarna kamienica w Chorzowie

black tenement house in Chorzów

© GVL Estate Investment

Wiktor: What was the most difficult thing about designing the „Black Tenement House”, and what gives you the most satisfaction?

Piotr: The unquestionable satisfaction is that thanks to such investments the city is changing for the better, which as a resident of Chorzów, Batory I observe at least twice a day passing the black tenement house. Then I can also recall the more difficult moments and in the case of this type of redevelopment the main problem is to combine the old with the new and not to go to extremes.

Wiktor: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed by Wiktor Bochenek

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