THE LIMITS OF PERMITTED REDEVELOPMENTS OF SUBURBAN GDANSK VILLAS FROM THE PERIOD OF 1893-1942: RESEARCH BASED ON A CASE STUDY OF THE SUBURBAN RESIDENCES COMMISSIONED BY GDANSK MERCHANT JOHN AXT, AND THEIR ARCHIVAL BUILDING DESIGN DOCUMENTATION.
The turn of the 21th century has presented a new, significant phase in the functioning of the villas built in the suburban districts of Gdańsk around 100 years ago. Current favorable economic and political circumstances have contributed to an intensification of building investments, including conservation work on historical buildings. Establishing a general conservational concept for the historical villas requires an in-depth analysis of the historical sources and architectural research due to the frequent and significant modifications of the original functions or architectural forms these representative houses have undergone according to the immediate needs of successive landlords. The documents of the State Building Police Office (Staatliches Baupolizeiamt zu Danzig (1814-1945)) present a valuable and relatively reliable source of information helpful in carrying out a chronological stratification and identifying the most relevant features of the historic buildings that should be preserved. An in-depth analysis of the preserved files shows that historic villas did not always fulfill the needs of the investors and successive owners, which has been reflected in subsequent, often rapid, extensions. This article presents the results of an analysis of the records concerning two villas commissioned and owned by Gdańsk merchant John Axt. The review of the material contained in this documentation demonstrates the dynamics of the various approaches adopted by designers towards the existing objects (e.g. functional program, materials used, presence of decorative ornaments, building form, typology) that were influenced by the involvement or otherwise of the initial designer and changing design trends as well as the needs of investors. The case study results confirm the thesis that due to frequent and varied redevelopments of the villas over an extended period of time, it is difficult to maintain the integrity and of interference into the architectural forms of such villas, as well as on the future direction of such endeavours.
Keywords: architectural heritage, Gdańsk, villa, H.Ed.Axt
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