Vul. Kushevycha, 1 – City's Hotkevych Palace of Culture
The three-storied building with a basement and an attic was built in 1933-1938 under an project designed by architect and engineer Tadeusz Wróbel as the Club of the Union of municipal workers of the city of Lviv. It is an example of Modernist brick architecture with dominant features of rationalism and the so-called "Krakow stylization decorativism".
The building is an architectural monument of local significance. According to the Lviv regional executive committee's resolution number 280 dated 21 May 1991, it was assigned the protection number 1613.
The Club of the Union of municipal workers of the city of Lviv, located on Kushevycha street 1, is one of the best examples of cultural and educational institutions of the city.
Kushevycha street got its present-day name in 1993 in honor of Serafym
Kushevych (1906-1935), a Ukrainian priest from the Rivne region, who was
executed in Soviet concentration camps.
It is interesting that from 1907 this street was called by the same name, in honor of Samuel Kushevych (Kuszewicz), a 17th century Lviv official and clerk, who described the siege of the city by the troops of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi in 1648. In Soviet times the street was called Klubna.
The idea of building the Club of the Union of municipal workers of the city of Lviv appeared in 1924 during a general workers' strike. The funds for the construction were collected through a deduction of 1% from the employees salary, beginning from 1927. When the amount reached 50 thousand zlotys, the Union's initiative group announced a local competition for the best design of the building. Not surprisingly, the competition was won by Tadeusz Wróbel and Leopold Karasiński, probably, the most popular architects in the city at that time.
The further designing works were entrusted to Wróbel, who on 17 March 1933 informed the Magistrate's third department of the start of executing the construction working documents (DALO 2/1/4793:1).
On 9 June 1933 the Magistrate was appealed by Czesław Dominik, the secretary of the Union of municipal workers of Lviv, who presented two copies of corrected drawings and filed a request for permission to start the construction. On 25 August 1933 the permission was granted, with a recommendation to move back from the railway line at 29.5 m (DALO 2/1/4793:9).
The static calculations of the designed building were performed by engineer Paweł Rehorowski (DALO 2/1/4793: 13). For the construction of the club, Hennebique reinforced concrete structures were used.
On 20 June 1934 the construction of the building's main volume was completed, the works managed by engineer architect Leopold Karasińskі, a partner of Wróbel (DALO 2/1/4793:22-23). The construction was being conducted in a very quick manner, as the municipal workers joined it, and not only in their spare time but even on weekends and in the evening shift.
On 5 November 1934 permission for partial operation of the club was granted, except the auditorium and the adjoining premises (DALO 2/1/4793: 31).
On 6 May 1938 the club administration appealed to the city administration for permission to arrange a cinema there (DALO 2/1/4793:39); in 1938-39 the cinema was called "Svitovyd" ("Swiatowid"), from December of 1939, "Chkalov Cinema", and in 1941-44, "Ton".
On 6 September 1938 all the construction and decoration works were completed, and the building was taken into use (DALO 2/1/4793:44).
In Soviet times, the building functioned as the Club of the Lviv Tram and Trolleybus Administration. In 1976-1980 a reconstruction of the club was carried out, the building's front part added at that time. Later, the club was renamed the Nikolai Kuznetsov Palace of Culture. In the early 90s its name was changed to the Hnat Khotkevych Palace of Culture.
The Club of the Union of municipal workers of the city of Lviv, located in a three-storied corner building constructed of unplastered red brick in 1933-1938, is notable for its architecture which is quite uncharacteristic of the city. The only similar example of the façade surface design (though with the use of white brick) is the Railway Workers' Palace, located on vul. Fedkovycha, 54/56. Today it is one of the best examples of Lviv's architecture from the interwar period.
This club is an example of modernist architecture, based on the ideas of rationalism initiated by Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. This style's characteristic features are the so-called "fair" use of materials (all materials must be easily recognizable) and clarity of design, devoid of unnecessary decoration. The basic building material is unplastered brick combined with reinforced concrete construction elements. This approach was typical of the architecture of the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria. Apart from rationalism influences, some influences of the Krakow school of "stylization decorativism", whose outstanding representative was Wacław Nowakowski, are clearly traceable in decorating the façade surfaces. To this trend, various techniques of decorating façades using brickwork are peculiar. Its striking embodiment is the Building of Scientists on the Inwalidów square 6 in Krakow.
The corner plot, where the City Hnat Khotkevych Palace of Culture stands, bordered on the railway line Lviv-Pidvolochysk in the south and on the Fifth Żółkiewski Humanitarian Gymnasium in the north. In the east, it faced Kuszewicza street with its residential, mainly Historicist-style housing, and in the west, it bordered on an old slaughterhouse.
The building, suggested in the sketch design, occupied almost 100% of the area, except for a small courtyard, which was to provide lighting for the auditorium. In general, this design was supported by the customer and by the Magistrate; however, a few comments were made, which the architect had to take into account in his further work. In particular, these comments include the following: the maximum height of the designed building from the side of the school yard, which it bordered on, had to be no more than 10.5 m; initially, the staircase was oriented toward Kuszewicza street and was located in a glazed bay window, which projected from the façade plane by 1.7 meters and towered over the main entrance by 3 m. The Magistrate specialists indicated that this design would cause an excessive shading of the building's entrance block and advised to give it up (DALO 2/1/4793:2). The author took all comments into account and made appropriate corrections in his drafts.
In the final version of the
project, the club premises included:
— at the basement level: three staircases, a bowling alley with a lounge, an orchestra rehearsal hall, a kitchen, a boiler room with a storeroom for storing coal, a storeroom for properties, and auxiliary facilities;
— at the ground floor level: an entrance lobby with stairs, a vestibule, two symmetrically arranged cloakrooms, the caretaker's apartment, two booking offices, a bar, four staircases, an auditorium for 350 spectators with a stage, a lodge, and the operator's room, and lavatories;
— at the second floor level: three staircases, two dressing rooms, a rehearsal hall, a cloakroom, a staff conference room, the administrative block with its secretariat, bathrooms and a boiler room;
— at the third floor level: a balcony for 170 spectators, three staircases, a cloakroom and toilets, a conference room, a library with a reading-room, a two-bedroom apartment of the club director;
— at the loft level: an outdoor terrace along the south façade which could be accessed via two staircases.
The east façade overlooking Kuszewicza street is formed by an avant-corps, slightly protruding from the main volume, on whose central axis the main entrance is located. Above it, at the second floor level, there is a balcony, which, due to its plasticity, accentuates the whole composition. The basement is decorated with horizontal bars formed by brickwork and two concrete cornices. Light penetrates in the building's basement through densely located small square windows duplicated by rectangular windows at the ground floor level. The façade's central part, at the second and third floors level, is richly decorated by protruding brickwork. This décor can also be seen in the spaces between the windows and underneath. The whole avant-corps, at the level of each floor, is cut by horizontal concrete cornices contrasting with the red brickwork. The façade's central part is topped with a kind of expressive attic having a geometrical ornament.
The south façade's main accent is the bay window of the staircase projecting from the façade's surface and being notable for its glazing. The staircase block also creates a vertical accent, reaching above the level of the cornice. Just as on the east façade, the basement consists of horizontal bars formed by brickwork and cornices. There are three additional entrances there. At the second floor level, in the façade's right corner, there is a balcony where a door from the administrative assemble hall leads. On the left, the building ended with a service staircase, accentuated by vertical windows. At the attic level, the space between two staircases was occupied by a terrace.
Due to an expansion of the club in 1976-1980, the building's south façade, overlooking the railway tracks, lost its original appearance. Its length increased significantly due to an expansion of the auditorium and the stage space. A stage box was constructed, which became a new high dominant of the object instead of the staircase bay window. The open terrace overlooking the railway was built up. A glazed gallery from the side of the courtyard was arranged at the same time.
The decoration of the block, which was constructed in the Soviet period, is the same as on the façades of the building erected in the interwar period. That is why it did not lose its integral appearance, and not only ordinary people, but even experts often do not notice any difference between them.
Also in Soviet times, two doors were arranged in the right part of the east façade, at the ground floor level.
The interiors of the vestibule group and of the staircase were designed with luxury typical of Lviv of that time. The surface of the walls is decorated with panels of natural black and milky stone with patches of small plant-themed reliefs below an alabaster belt. On both sides of the front door niches with heating radiators are arranged, decorated with delicate brass grating. The same metal is also used for door fittings. The massive rail fencing the grand staircase is made of polished alabaster. During the reconstruction, carried out in Soviet times, the architects tried to follow the basic concept of the club interior decoration.
an engineer and architect, the author of the project, an eminent urbanist, one
of the most renowned Lviv architects, who promoted and developed the ideas of
avant-garde in architecture. He was a member of the Polytechnic Society in
Lviv and of the Circle of Polish Architects. He taught at the Lviv Art and
Industrial School and worked as an assistant and designer at the Department of
Utilitarian Construction of the Lviv Polytechnic. In 1928, together with
Leopold Karasiński, he opened his own architectural bureau in Lviv. In 1939 he
was placed at the head of the Department of Urban Planning at the Lviv
Polytechnic. After the Second World War he moved to Wroclaw. He took an active
part in creating Wroclaw University, where he became the first dean of the Department
of Architecture and Construction and later created the Department of
Urbanistics. He published a book entitled "Zarys historii budowy
miast" (Ossolineum, 1977).
Hendrik Petrus Berlage — a Dutch architect, urbanist and designer. At first he followed the dominant architectural styles of the time, but later started to experiment, combining elements of the Art Nouveau and rationalism in his projects. A peculiar feature of Berlage's style was his functional approach to designing buildings with the use of concise, aesthetically perfect details. He became one of the inspirers of rationalism in world architecture.
Leopold Marcin Karasiński — a Lviv engineer and architect. Before 1914 he designed mainly residential buildings. After the First World War he created a company with Tadeusz Wróbel known for its active use of reinforced concrete structures.
Czesław Dominik — the secretary of the Union of municipal workers of Lviv.
Paweł Rehorowski — an engineer who performed the static calculations of the Club's building constructions.
Wacław Nowakowski — a prominent Krakow architect. In his works, he passed all the stylistic trends of the first half of the 20th century, from the traditional aspirations of the early 1920s (“dworkowy” style, Neo-Classicism) through Art Deco and Expressionism to the Functionalism and Monumentalism of the 1930s. He managed to go beyond the typical design schemes, creating objects which occupied an important place in the history of Polish interwar architecture.
1. State Archive of Lviv
Oblast (DALO) 2/1/4793.
2. Лемко І., Михалик В., Бегляров Г., 1243 вулиці Львова (1939–2009) (Львів: "Апріорі", 2009; 446).
3. Котлобулатова І., Історія кіно у Львові, 1896–1939 (Львів: "Ладекс", 2014; 83).
By Yulia Bohdanova