1(7)/2000, p. 85

Krystyna Kirschke

Ceramic elevations of the Wroc³aw tenements from the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The state of preservation and conservation problems

    Architecture styles changed fairly slowly up to the 19th century, since then changes in architecture proceeded in the space of decades. For this reason, architecture, particularly from the second half of the 19th century, was poorly appreciated for a long time. It was perceived as being overloaded with various decorative elements, while the combination of elements and decorations from all epochs into completely new arrangements was not acceptable to critics. Secession architecture was also described as worthless and decadent.
    Contempt with which architecture of those epochs was treated also produced a different effect. Negligence and grime gathered on the buildings, caused that after their cleaning there appeared the original colouring, often amazingly diversified and full of imagination. In addition, the use of historical architecture forms is not evaluated so critically nowadays.
    The objects preserved in Wroc³aw without doubt, have their architectonic and cultural values – particularly as they form complexes of a unique character. Examining their colouring is the necessity of the time. Although under the conservator’s protection they are treated at will and not scientifically. Most of the ceramic elevations of the Wroc³aw tenements have retained a satisfactory state and their revalorization will be directed towards those materials and elevation areas which were damaged more than the ceramic faces (plasters, wood, roofs). It is necessary to remove the painting coatings from the brick faces of those buildings which, years before, were renovated in this manner. Conservative works on the damaged ceramic elevations are very labour-consuming and costly. Due to technological reasons it is not possible nowa-days to choose an adequate brick colour which would be like the original colour. However, it is possible to acknowledge that slight differences of colour in the supplemented elevation will be appropriate from the point of view of the so-called Venice Card (a genuine differentiation between the original and new material).