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Monument wall (illegal) battlefield

02 of March '21

There is a building in Wroclaw in the center of the city, located in a highly visible, prominent place, on the gable wall of which appeared a football-"patriotic" mural and an advertisement (also a mural) for vaccination against the covid-19 virus, maintained in a national liberation mood. Although both elements are slightly embarrassing in both form and content, their place might not be so surprisingly undignified were it not for the fact that the building has been a historic landmark for several years, and the wall decoration described - completely illegal.

Mezonetovnik - the pride of the city

The famous Mezonetowiec, because this is the building in question, was built in 1958-60 according to the design of Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak, Edmund Frąckiewicz, Maria and Igor Tawryczewski. It is Poland's first galleried building with two-story apartments, pretending more than half a century ago to be a skyscraper (8 stories). The architects' idea was to combine in it the features of a multi-family block of flats with the independence of single-family houses. Such an avant-garde solution was the object of sighs of many prominent Wroclaw residents, who were racing to get an M-4 in the building.

Mezonetowiec from the frontMezonetowiec from the frontMezonetowiec from the front

Mesonetowiec from the front

photo: Dobrochna Stobiecka

Each of Mezonetowiec's apartments, with clearly separated living (level 1.) and sleeping (level 2.) areas, is accessible from galleries leading along the facade from the backyard. Glazed stores are located on the first floor, accessed from a sidewalk slightly elevated above the site. In addition to its innovatively designed function, the mesonet has two exquisite modernist facades - front and courtyard - and two blind gable walls. It is on one of these that the drama now unfolds.

{Image@url=,alt=Mezonetowiec from the front, facing Kollataja Street,title=Mezonet building from the front, facing Kollataja Street}

Mesonet building from the front, from the side of Kollataja street

photo: Beata Stobiecka

well guarded mural

It started with a "wild" mural painted in 2014 in the lower strip of the wall by enthusiasts of the WKS Śląsk soccer club. The mural depicts three soldiers standing with wolves, emblems of the soccer club and the Freedom and Independence and National Armed Forces organizations, as well as the inscription: "fighting army wyklęta, Śląsk Wrocław remembers you." Not all residents like such a picture, some even try to cover it up from time to time, painting over it with a rainbow, an element definitely not to the liking of the mural's creators. Swastikas also appear, it is not clear whether they are added as a gesture of protest or approval. Whenever this happens, the reaction is very quick - the rainbow and swastika disappear, the painting remains. This is evidence of the vigilance of its creators and the guarding of the wall.

dolny mural of Slask Wroclaw club supporters on the south gable wall of the buildingdolny mural of Slask Wroclaw club supporters on the south gable wall of the buildingdolny mural of Slask Wroclaw club supporters on the south gable wall of the building

lower mural of supporters of Slask Wroclaw club on the southern gable wall of the building

photo: Dobrochna Stobiecka

Unfortunately, the manifestation of views on the building, which arouses great emotion among Wroclaw residents, is carried out in violation of the law. The mesonet was entered in the register of monuments on October 30, 2017, and placed under conservation protection as one of Wrocław's few works of contemporary architecture. From now on, the care of the building is to permanently preserve its value, and the responsibility for this lies with the users.

Admittedly, the mural was created before the building became a monument, but as Barbara Nowak-Obelinda, Lower Silesian Regional Monument Conservator, said:

The transformations that occurred in the past should be restored to their original state. In the future, it will be necessary to think about removing the mural. He in the register of monuments will not be entered.

"Silesia fans' mural in tribute to the hatched soldiers will be removed?"
Piotr Bera, Gazeta Wrocławska, Sportowy24pl, October 12, 2017.

advertising for pandemic time

As if that wasn't enough, last month Braughman Group Media painted a huge mural-advertising coronavirus vaccinations-on the same gable wall above the soccer field. The goal is laudable and laudable, but the form is surprising, of a rather grim sort, and the whole thing is unfortunately also illegal. The ad features a portrait of the now 98-year-old soldier of the Home Army, Colonel Vitalis Skorupka alias Orzeł, who says: "I, Orzeł once fought for Poland. I fight today." Below is the inscription - Be a hero.

murale na południowej ścianie szczytowej Mezonetowca

The murals on the southern summit wall of Mezonetowiec

Photo: Dobrochna Stobiecka

Who came up with such an idée fixe is unknown. All that is known is that Braughman was commissioned by another company to make the mural, and that Wroclaw is not the only city where it has graced. The advertisement with the hero of the war and post-war times was also made in Gdansk, Lodz, Poznan and Warsaw - it is part of a government campaign.

The Wroclaw location was chosen as closely as possible to the trend shown on the contractor's website:

the carriers are drive-through in nature and are most often located at intersections with traffic lights, which results in maximum perception time.

Unlucky for us that the Mezonet exactly met these conditions, and the lower part of its gable wall was already filled with a painting of the feud. The fact that the fight of soccer fans is combined here with the fight against pandemonium, and that an AK soldier is combined with the cursed soldiers, as it turns out, is of no consequence. Perhaps it even multiplies the intended effect for some? Unfortunately, it also doesn't matter that the wall is a monument and nothing is allowed to be painted on it.

A monument, but in bad condition

Of course, no one has ever applied to either the conservation office or the city hall for permission for the said decoration. A question addressed to the contractor's company as to why it carried out the mural without permission has not been answered. The managers of the two housing communities that operate in the building also refuse to say why they agreed to paint illegally on the monument's wall. Perhaps the residents wanted to make money this way for the building's years-delayed renovation?

Mezonetowiec od podwórka, część niewyremontowana Mezonetowiec od podwórka

Mesonet building from the backyard, part of it not renovated

Photo: Beata Stobiecka

And here comes another hot topic related to Mezonetowiec. The building has not changed its functional layout or renewed its face for more than half a century, succumbing instead to local alterations, paintings and "improvements" within the sections of the facade belonging to individual apartments. The independence within the community, assumed by the designers, produced a lamentable result after more than half a century. The building from the front no longer impresses passersby, disfiguring rather than adorning one of the main streets of the center.

expected renovation a way out of the situation

Fortunately, a solution and money have been found for the renovation, which will see the house's facade renewed, as well as the removal of unlawful paintings on its gable wall.

This topic "took off" a few years ago, already in 2016, on the occasion of Wrocław's obtaining the title of European Capital of Culture," architect Marta Mnich of the Vroa design studio and the Architecture Unit Foundation, which deals with the design legacy of Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak, who died two and a half years ago, tells the latest story of the building. - At the time, the foundation raised funds for a popularization campaign, in which we published an educational booklet about this remarkable building. We also obtained funds for a construction project to renovate its facade.

projekt building renovationprojekt building renovationprojekt building renovation

building renovation project

© Marta Mnich, Grzegorz Kaczmarowski, Architecture Unit Foundation

A year later, the building was entered in the register of historical monuments and in 2018, in accordance with the conservation guidelines, the Vroa studio prepared detailed designs. Due to the large cost of the project, the implementation was divided into several stages.

The rear façade was in a deteriorated state, the galleries leading to the apartments posed a danger to residents, the architect explains. - So the renovation had to start from the backyard.


Residents of the Mezonet building applied to the City Historic Preservation Officer for a grant under the annual program to save selected monuments. However, to make things less glamorous, the building, as already mentioned, is inhabited by two communities, each with a different manager. Both applied for a grant to renovate their part of the rear facade, but only one used the money in 2019. So the renovation could not cover the entire back, and today you can see the effect of this division - for now only half of the back of the Mezonet is beautiful, the other half is still waiting for it.

styk części niewyremontowanej i wyremontowanej Mezonetowiec od podwórka

Left: the junction of the unrenovated and renovated parts; right: the Mezonetowiec from the backyard

Photo: Beata Stobiecka

The following year, the communities again applied for funds to continue the renovation - most likely successfully. The City Council, which cares about important, unique buildings, will cover 70 percent of the cost of the construction work, 30 percent will be paid by residents. We are talking about large sums of money - the work done so far has been estimated at more than one million zlotys.

Now half of the rear and the entire front wall with loggias and balconies, as well as the two gable walls, are waiting to be restored to their sixty-year-old state. The latter will probably be re-plastered and painted as it was at the beginning of the building's existence, and the matter of the murals will solve itself - they will disappear under a layer of paint.

Beata Stobiecka

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