Model Workers' Houses at Habrielivka

ID: 14


In the late nineteenth century architects and officials, following the example of Western Europe, showed their concern about living conditions of Lviv proletariat. Experts started a broad debate about the best kind of cheap, but convenient housing for workers. As a result, it came even to some specific design initiatives. However, it was only this that the matter ended in, and workers' settlements, adapted to the local climate, remained on paper alone. There were many reasons for this. The most important one was the inferiority of Lviv industry. On the one hand, there were various factories in the city and there were people who worked there and needed better living conditions. On the other hand, when compared to industrialized West Europe, the number of poor workers was not sufficient to really start construction of social housing on a mass scale. This did not mean that, in general, there were few poor people in Lviv; for example, they prevailed among Pidzamche residents. In fact, there were more than enough of them, especially given that, by population, Lviv was one of the largest cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Furthermore, Lviv was 'famous' for its crowded conditions and poor living standards of the lower strata of the population, it was called "the city of one-bedroom apartments." However, it was the factory proletariat that urban planners and officials directed their attention to while not paying attention to other poor population. Probably, it was the impact of thoughtless adopting the practices of industrialized cities in Europe, where the workers were cared for, so Lviv "city fathers" also sought to care for workers. In Lviv, the situation was a little different, and therefore it was necessary to act in a different way.

Single quality housing projects for workers were nevertheless implemented in Lviv as well. There were no huge industrial corporations here which could build entire settlements for their employees, as was practiced in "Great Poland." Major enterprises of the city, railway and tram companies, where relatively many people worked (a few thousand on the railway), became the first and, unfortunately, the last builders of model dwellings for workers. In Pidzamche, an example of these important social trends of the industrial age was a residential complex built for the tram depot employees at Habrielivka (Gabrielówka) in 1910-1912.

The original plans, however, were much grander than the construction of two magnificent buildings. It was planned to turn local wasteland into a modern urban center with proper infrastructure which would ensure its self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, the plans were not implemented as the First World War erupted soon.

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