27 Sep The Skyscraper of Katowice.
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17 floors were meticulously built at 15 Zwirki and Wigury Street. The construction works were financed by the Silesian Treasury with the help of the Syndicate of Polish Ironworks [Syndykat Polskich Hut Żelaznych]. The initiative was put forward by the Silesian Voivodeship Office and was motivated by the said Office’s urge to own a building which would house the Tax Office, Tax Treasury, Cadastral Office, and Duty and Monopolies Office all under one roof.
To better utilize the space the building was divided in two. One part was designated as office space whilst the other was to consist of living quarters for the officers. The luxurious residential part spreads over 14 floors. It includes a staircase and three lifts – one for cargo and two for passenger use. The living quarters vary in size – from bedsits to over 100 m2 apartments. The latter were to accommodate tax officers of the highest ranks.
The office part takes up 6 floors and incorporates two passenger lifts (one paternoster lift). The roof was converted into a wonderful terrace from which can be admired a unique panorama of the city.
The building is heated with own dedicated heating system and equipped with two spare water tanks located on the last floor. There are two underground floors with cellars, storage space and service areas.
The construction of the building, based on reinforced concrete and a welded steel frame, is truly one of a kind. It was designed by Professor Stefan Bryla – a world class constructor. He succeeded in designing a frame which would hold the weight of this modern looking construction. Over 1000 tonnes of steel, manufactured at the Krolewska [Royal] and Pokoj [Peace] metalworks, were used to execute his vision.
These days the Skyscraper is still considered to be one of the most modern buildings in the area. At 62 meters tall it not only dominates the skyline of the Upper Silesia but the entire region, being the largest commercial building in use. Neither is there any building to match it on the other side of German and Czech borders. Therefore, it is needless to say which country should be recognised as the true host of the Silesian homeland.