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Stefan Zeromski Theater in Kielce according to the design of the WXCA studio. Renovation reveals secrets

13 of April '21

The long-awaited renovation of a historic theater in Kielce has recently begun. The authors of the project for the expansion and modernization of the Stefan Zeromski Theater. Stefan Żeromski are architects from the Warsaw-based WXCA studio. The renovation work has uncovered previously hidden valuable elements of the historic building.

Unexpected results of conservation research

After almost three years since the competition for the architectural concept was decided, a combined renovation and reconstruction project began at the Kielce theater in February this year. Over the past two months, the construction crew has been preparing the buildings for partial demolition. Everything is being supervised by the Swietokrzyskie Voivodship Historic Preservation Officer and also a representative of the Association of Historic Preservationists. The results of their work are surprising. After the removal of the wainscoting on the staircase, polychromes were exposed, and the work was halted by ordering additional research, as the presence of polychromes in this place was a complete surprise.

visualization | WXCA

We know their original, surprising color scheme: turquoise-green and gold, tobordiura with gilding. Very nice classical layout.It is clear that the one who commissioned these works wanted to emphasize the splendor of the place.The first were those polychromes hidden today under the wainscoting, imitated wood cladding on the walls. But why such imitation if you can afford the wood itself? - jokes conservator Grzegorz Wiatr (read on The owner decided to repaint and even rebuild the cage. - This is indicated by the alignment of the polychromes, which were originally located just above the staircase. Today's line of stairs and paintings do not coincide. Perhaps at the next stage we will find the places where the stairs were fixed in this first version.

press materials | Stefan Żeromski Theater

polychromes and cast iron staircase

The representative staircase with richly decorated polychromes and paneling, cast-iron stairs from the Blizzard foundry was built in the 1870s.

press materials | Stefan Żeromski Theater

These valuable wall paintings will be restored, the conservator announces. - They will be made using modern technology so they will be permanent. Because there were probably problems with their maintenance - the oil-painted walls, like those of the paneling, are peeling, caused them to be painted over. The polychromes from under the paneling will be fixed, but covered up, because paneling is a valuable detail of theater interiors. After conservation, they will be returned to their place and research will determine what their original colors were. One of the goals of the current renovation is to restore the original colors in the theater's interior.

Another surprise for the restoration team was the discovery of an ornamental beam above the stage. The coat of arms of Kielce was discovered under layers of paint, and the restoration of the coat of arms must be decided by a conservation commission.

press materials | Stefan Żeromski Theater

From the descriptions we knew that above the stage there was an ornamental beam, with a quote from Horace and the coat of arms of Kielce. I managed to come across remnants of gilding under more than a dozen layers of paint. There are also fragments of the sentence, we know the typeface, background color, technique so we will be able to reproduce it. I expect that after removing the repaints, the ladies will be considerably slimmed down, we will restore their former color and luster. - comments the restorer.

Architectural concept by WXCA studio

The renovation and modernization of the façade of the main building involves changing the color scheme of the facade. The historical sculptures of muses on the front facade and the finials of the attics will be restored. In addition, a roof superstructure is planned along with a stage chimney.

As planned, part of the first floor of the building will be rebuilt, with a spacious entrance with a foyer leading to the small and large stage. The main entrance to the building will be located as before. The historic floor, with its distinctive wind rose, will undergo extensive renovation. From the entrance hall it will be possible to walk to the cafeteria, which will be built in place of the current impresariat. The attic will be adapted for a library and theater offices.

visualization | WXCA

The new foyer in the central part will be 2 stories high and will gain a decidedly more representative character.
The space will be enlarged by the area of the former small stage. The main decorative treatment will be to reflect the front elevation inside the foyer, based on archival documentation from 1910.

modern stage solutions

Changes also await the large stage, the level of which will be lowered and the stage window will be lengthened, thus improving visibility. Sinks will appear under the stage, and a large space for scenery is planned on the right side. A plafond of hammered brass is to provide better acoustics. The boxes will disappear, and more medallions of poets will appear on the balconies.

The architects proposed changing the location of the small stage and the possibility of opening it to the courtyard, which will give the theater a whole new range of possibilities for staging performances. The new chamber stage is primarily a folding auditorium, which will allow flexible configuration. This section will also include an independent foyer, which will also function as a "lapidarium," a place to store and display important architectural elements, including: sections of the original balcony cross-section, cast-iron columns or a post and sword from the roof truss.

visualization | WXCA

not just a theater, but a meeting place

The inner plaza will get a new floor and lighting, and will be adapted for outdoor events and theater performances. Under the slab of the courtyard, 2 underground floors are planned, which will house storage facilities and acting facilities for the chamber stage. A recording studio has also been designed there.

Rearranging the spaces, but also increasing them, will make the theater a friendly meeting place and the center of Kielce events. This will not only give the theater the opportunity to develop artistically, but also attract new audiences from all over the country. The combination of state-of-the-art solutions and historic elements of the building is a reflection of what a modern theater is - tradition for modernity.

Marta Kowalska

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