Vul. Ustyianovycha, 5 – Lviv Polytechnic National University building

ID: 321

The Machines Laboratory was built in 1925 under a project designed by architect Witold Minkiewicz. A part of the Lviv Polytechnic’s historic core, it is a bright example of a Neoclassical style educational technical institution building where traditional and reinforced concrete constructions are combined.

According to the resolution of the Regional Executive Committee of the Lviv Region number 393 dated 22 November 1988, the building was entered in the Register of local monuments under protection number 309-M. Now it is used as an academic building.  

History

1914 – the foundation is laid and a part of walls is built up to the floor level under a project designed by architect Bogdan Stefanowski.
1922 – the construction works are resumed.
1925 – the Machines Laboratory building is finished.
1978 – repair works: the floor in the machinery hall is replaced with a monolith covering; the boiler room is expanded.
1996 – a lecture auditorium’s interior is restored.
2013 – the roof collapses due to an explosion in the boiler room.
2013-2014 – repair works are performed in the boiler room, the roof is replaced.

The Lviv Polytechnic came into being as a higher educational institution in 1844 under the name of the Technical Academy and functioned in adapted premises. In 1873 Emperor Franz Josef II signed a permission to construct a building for this institution. To construct the Polytechnic, count Agenor Gołuchowski on the government’s behalf bought from countess Fredrowa a large plot to the south-west of Lviv’s central part in what was then the city’s outskirts. In the north, the plot bordered on the Sv. Yura (St. George) square; in the north-west, on the convent of the sisters of the Sacred Heart with a church and a big garden (destroyed in the Soviet time; the Polytechnic buildings were built instead); in the west, on Topolnicki’s estate (Zachariewicza street was laid along this border); in the east, on Lypova (earlier Ujejskiego, now Ustyyanovycha) street and on Marii Magdaleny street which passed the St. Mary Magdalene church and a women’s educational institution of the same name. To design the building, Goluchowski invited the architect Julian Zachariewicz.

Originally, the Lviv Polytechnic complex consisted of two structures: the main building, finished in 1877, and the chemistry building, constructed in 1876. In the vacant eastern corner of the plot, a building of the Fourth Jan Długosz gymnasium was constructed in the late 1880s; eventually this building became a part of the Polytechnic’s historic core. All these buildings were constructed in the then prevailing Historicist style with the Neorenaissance decoration of the façades and interiors.

The history of the construction of the Machines Laboratory for the Mechanical faculty of the Lviv Polytechnic began in 1913. Architect Bogdan Stefanowski was invited to design the building. It  was to be constructed outside the city limits, in a district which was not built up at that time; thus, a brick-style architectural design, typical of factory structures, was suggested by the architect. However, some problems arose when purchasing a plot, so it was decided to build the structure on the Polytechnic’s territory. The building was planned for a double purpose: as an educational and scientific institution and as a plant generating electricity and heat for its own needs. So the Machines Laboratory was designed to the east of the chemistry building. It consisted of two parts: in the one, there were auditoriums for lecturing and drawing, the professors’ and assistants’ rooms, a library, laboratories, scientific collections, etc., as well as a research institute of building materials and fibre endurance; in the other, there was a boiler room and a machinery hall, i.e., strictly speaking, mechanical equipment. The building’s main façade faced the Sv. Yura square and Ujejskiego (Lypova, now Ustyyanovycha) street. To the east of the building, a tower was planned which contained a water reservoire and hydraulic laboratories. Till 1914, the foundation was laid and a part of walls was built up to the floor level.

The construction works were resumed only in 1922. Considering the vicinity of the main building, the condition of the pre-war constructions, and the structure’s irregular layout the architect would have a difficult task to change façades, adapting them to the Neoclassical-style environment without making changes in the structure plan and using its foundations and other parts built before the war. This task was assigned to Witold Minkiewicz, a professor of the Lviv Polytechnic. The façades were given a Neoclassical-style appearance (a version of the late Art Nouveau); stylized Ionic capitals and mascarons were used.

An important part of the project was organizing the territory of the Polytechnic from the side of the Sv. Yura square, in front of the mechanical and chemistry buildings. Due to the roughness of the terrain, the Machines Laboratory is located slightly lower than the chemistry building. The passage between the chemistry building and the Machines Laboratory is blocked by a fence which stretches along Ustyyanovycha street to the former Fourth gymnasium building.

In about 1923 Witold Minkiewicz designed a project of the development of the Lviv Polytechnic complex on the plot located from the side of Sapiegi street (now Bandery str.) The Polytechnic planned to construct a building of electrical laboratories and a mechanical department for its own needs. The project specified that the territories of the Polytechnic and of the former Mary Magdalene institution, which was transferred to the Polytechnic, would be merged. It was on the territory of the mentioned institution that a building of electrical laboratories and a mechanical department were to be constructed. In 1932 the Polytechnic’s Neoclassical-style scientific library, whose main façade faces Profesorska (earlier Nikorowicza) street, was built on this territory.

In 1924, at the request of the building committee, Witold Minkiewicz made some changes in the project, in particular, in the construction of the boiler room’s roof which had to be as light as possible. That is why the originally planned costly reinforced concrete constructions were replaced with light English-style wooden ones. According to the corrected project, the roof was made higher while the skylight area was expanded. Some other engineers and the Polytechnic professors participated in designing the project of the Machines Laboratory, in particular, professor Adam Kurylo who was an engineer and an expert in reinforced concrete, Tadeusz Dobrzelewski, an expert in ventilation, and others. It was under the guidance of professor Kurylo that the machinery hall, covered with reinforced concrete constructions, was built. In 1925 the Machines Laboratory was finished.

In Soviet times, an administration and utility building was constructed between the main building and the chemistry building, as well as a single-storied utility building on a small plot between the Mechanical building (the former gimnasium) and the Machines Laboratory building. After 1991 this incongruous structure was dismantled. It was also in the Soviet period that the boiler room was expanded to the east in such a mode that its eastern wall continued the machinery hall wall. In 2013 a boiler exploded and the boiler room’s roof was damaged. A new roof was made of light metal constructions.

Architecture

The Neoclassical style building was constructed in 1925; the Art Deco style elements were used in its decoration. The structure, which is built of brick and plastered, stands separately and is based on an elongated irregularly shaped plan. It consists of a main academic building, a boiler room and a machinery hall, which are expressed in different blocks when speaking in terms of their volume and spatial solution. The design of each block’s exterior emphasizes its functional purpose. The lateral east and west façades are virtually identical. In its north-eastern part the structure is accentuated by a high tower with thermal windows which makes its Neoclassical style more expressive. There are hydraulic laboratories and a water reservoire in the tower.

The three-storied (with basements) academic part is rectangular, with a protruding semicircular two-storied volume of lecture rooms and a T-shaped courtyard. It is covered with a tin roof with wooden constructions. The façades are cut by a rhythm of rectangular windows located in niches and decorated with recessed flat and shaped trimmings with rectangular pediments. The building can be entered through an adjoining single-tier entryway (from Ustyyanovycha street) topped with a loggia with a balustrade. Broad stairs made of artificial stone lead to the main entrance. The main entrance niche is decorated with a shaped framing which has a rectangular pediment. The original wooden door has survived. It is decorated with rosettes. The main façade composition solution is symmetrical, the central axis is accentuated by a five-axis protruding part which is vertically divided by pilasters with stylized Ionic capitals. The façade is topped with a wide shaped cornice with denticles.

The academic building’s interior planning belongs to the corridor type. The three-flight concrete front staircase is square in plan; it is covered with a flat ceiling with coffers on its perimeter. The stairs have wheeling steps and a delicate metal railing. The stair flights are supported by Tuscan columns with Ionic capitals. The vestibule and the ground floor corridors are bridged with cross vaults; the second and third floors ceilings are flat and decorated with mirrors. The lecture hall is rounded and bridged with a flat ceiling decorated by a shaped cornice with denticles. The floors in the staircase and in the corridors are covered with small-size brown ceramic tiles; other premises have parquet floors.

The single-tier block of the machinery hall, which is elongated along the east-west axis, is situated between the academic part and the boiler room. On the east and west façades the hall is accentuated by Neo-Classicist porticoes with triangular pediments supported by two half columns with stylized Ionic capitals. There is a stylized Art Deco mascaron in the pediment tympanum; the partitions are glazed.

The machinery hall is covered with a gable roof supported by reinforced concrete constructions; the roof has a skylight. A broad wooden gallery is arranged on perimeter of the hall; it can be reached by winding metal stairs. There are models of heat-and-power engineering equipment exposed in the hall. Some old equipment models have been preserved in the machinery hall basements. The floors in the basements are covered with ceramic tiles of various kinds.

From the south the machinery hall is adjoined by a single-tier boiler room which is virtually square in plan. The boiler room’s main (south) façade is expanded to the east, so its original axis composition has been affected. Like the lateral façades, it is emphasized by a triangular but without the half columns. The boiler room’s lateral façades are accentuated with a rhythm of elongated semicircular windows. At the boiler room’s west façade, there is a high brick circular section pipe which ensures a draft.

The Machines Laboratory building is a bright example of a Neoclassical style educational technical institution building where traditional and reinforced concrete constructions are combined.

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Personalities

Agenor Gołuchowski – a count, Austrian diplomat and statesman, minister of foreign affairs of Austro-Hungary.
Adam Kurylo – a Ukrainian scientist, doctor of technical sciences, professor of Lviv Polytechnic, who designed the project of the reinforced concrete machinery hall.
Bogdan Stefanowski – an architect who designed the first project of the Machines Laboratory.
Witold Minkiewicz – an architect, professor of Lviv Polytechnic, who designed the project of the Machines Laboratory building.
Franz Josef – an emperor of Austro-Hungary.
Tadeusz Dobrzelewski – an engineer, professor of Lviv Polytechnic.
Topolnicki – an owner of the estate bordering the Polytechnic plot.
Fredrowa – a countess who owned a plot in the south-western part of the city which was purchased to construct the Lviv Polytechnic buildings.
Julian Zachariewicz – an architect, professor of Lviv Polytechnic, who designed the project of the Polytechnic’s main building and chemistry faculty.
Jan Długosz – a Polish historian of the 15th c.

Sources

1. State Archive of Lviv Oblast (DALO) 1/29/260.
2. DALO 1/29/261.
3. DALO 1/29/262.
4. DALO 1/29/315-3.
5. Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine in Lviv (CDIAL) 186/8/629.
6. CDIAL 186/8/631.
7. Кафедра РРАК НУ "Львівська політехніка". Історико-містобудівне обґрунтування проектування та будівництва дослідно-наукового корпусу НУ "Львівська політехніка" на вул. Устияновича, 5 у м. Львові, 2014 р. (Ю. Дубик, О. Стасюк, С. Бабій), 2014 р.
8. Архітектура Львова: Час і стилі. XIII–XXI ст. (Львів: Центр Європи, 2008), 539.
9. Львів. Ілюстрований путівник (Львів, 2000).
10. Мельник Б., Вулицями старовинного Львова (Львів, 2002).
11. Мельник Б., Довідник перейменувань вулиць і площ Львова (Львів, 2001).
12. Minkiewicz W., O projektowaniu, "Czasopismo techniczne", 1925, 191-194.


Material compiled by Oksana Boyko

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