Villa Koliba in Zakopane

Villa Koliba in Zakopane
Villa Koliba in Zakopane

Today we want to talk to you about a most unique architectural style. The Zakopane style, named after this mountainous town in southern Poland. It is certainly not the most famous style of architecture in the world, far from it. But it must be recognized for being the only 100% Polish construction style. And it was thanks to the inventiveness and creative audacity of Stanislaw Witkiewicz.


Zakopane Villa Koliba

This artist who developed his work as a writer, as a painter and also as an architect was born in Lithuania in the year 1851, and like so many other intellectuals from that area of ​​Europe he came to the beautiful city of Zakopane attracted by its beautiful mountain scenery.

There he was to receive an important commission fromZygmunt Gnatowski, a we althy anthropologist who was in love with that region of Poland and passionately studied the traditions of Zakopane and its environment of the Tatra mountain range. And he commissioned her in 1892 to build his summer house, giving her the freedom to put into practice some of the aesthetic ideas that Witkiewicz had already put in writing.

It should be noted that Stanislaw Witkiewicz had extensive training and had traveled quite a bit, in fact he had studied both inSt. Petersburgand inMunich. And he also loved the traditional architecture of that area, thewhich was based on the use of wood, but in his opinion not all its possibilities were being used. For example, he did not conceive that the spaces under the gabled roofs were not useful as housing, and in fact in the Zakopane tradition the houses were single-storey. That was going to change since the construction of Villa Koliba.

Of course he used the typical stone base and then built the entire work with large timbers. But, he treated wood as a structural element as well as a decorative one, both outside the house and inside. All of it is a delicate carpentry work that can be seen in doors, windows, balustrades and in a thousand and one details carved in the beams or in the doorknobs.

That was the beginning of the Zakopane style, and he was so successful that within a few years he was commissioned to build several more houses in the city, as well as designing several chapels. And not only that, various architects were amazed at all the creative possibilities that Witkiewicz had opened up, and they exported them to their buildings from other parts of Poland, and even from neighboring Lithuania, albeit uniting traditional brick to woodworking.

But we must not forget that Villa Koliba was the first of all of them, and perhaps for this reason it is only right that it is open to visitors today and has been transformed into a museum in the Zakopane style, the great creation of Witkiewicz who, of course, given his restless and multi-passionate spirit, continued to travel and create different works in other parts of Europe, fromIn fact, he died on the shores of the Adriatic Sea in 1915 in the small town of Lovran, located today in today's Croatia and in those years part of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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