The manor house, both architecturally and conceptually, is considered the Polish house. Determining it as an architecturally and culturally individual form of Polish living was a long process. It gained a distinct status around the middle of the 19th century.

This relation between a type of building and the Polish character, which is difficult to explain, was supported by the popular notion that the manor house was a place where national identity could be passed over when independence was lost.

The house with columns, though disappearing in its 19th-century or older version as a visual, economic and social center of the village, began a new life in the 20th century. It lent its distinctive features to the so-called manor style that spread over residential neighborhoods in cities and suburbs, but also served as inspiration for the architecture of interwar period schools, public offices or railway stations. This wide use of the manor house costume made people believe it was the model Polish home, not necessarily only meant for the lord of the manor. What is significant, houses more or less dependent on the manor house concept were built more eagerly in breakthrough moments of Polish history, such as the regaining of independence in 1918 and the 1989 breakthrough. Those erected in the last 25 years are usually very distant cousins of the historic manor houses, both in terms of appearance and technology. Their initial abundance could be explained by a mechanism of making up for years of spatial limitations and being forced to live in multi-family dwellings, standardization, as well as a simple lack of architectural alternatives. Today it is also the result of a combination of social aspirations and a deeply rooted conviction that a single-family home is the best form of living.

Apart from the recognizable and easy to spot architectural costume, the Polish manor house is also a style of interior design, based on antique furniture and objects, whose strength comes not only from nostalgia, but also from the possibility of retaining history - family history most of all, but sometimes also national history. Since the end of World War II decorating the home with antique furniture has not only been an expression of post-aristocratic snobbery, but also a nostalgia for the traditional home culture, lingering in domesticity, which is personified by such residua in a worn-out, revolutionized society.

The Polish manor house is therefore not only an architectural type of house, it's almost a mental state, an identity condition, functioning freely outside of its tangible layer, which realizes a vision of social relations and an elitist outlook on the world, symbolized by the Polish manor house as a social and cultural phenomenon.

Piotr Korduba

dr hab., art historian, assistant professor at the Adam Mickiewicz University Institute of Art History. His interests include dwelling culture, design, art and history relations between Germany and Poland, as well as the urban aspects of Poznań. Fundacja na Rzecz Nauki Polskiej and DAAD fellow, member of Polish and foreign associations, member of the programming council of the Polish National Center for Culture and the Museum Council at the Łódź Museum of Art, juror in the Sybilla contest for best Polish music event. Author of numerous articles and books, including:Patrycjuszowski dom gdański w czasach nowożytnych (Warsaw 2005), Sołacz. Domy i ludzie (Poznań 2009, 2012); Na starym Grunwaldzie. Domy i ich mieszkańcy (Poznań 2012) [with A. Paradowska]. He recently published Ludowość na sprzedaż. Towarzystwo Popierania Przemysłu Ludowego, Cepelia, Instytut Wzornictwa Przemysłowego (Warsaw 2013) and prepared the international exhibition and publication Ernst Stewner - niemiecki fotograf Polski/Ernst Stewner - ein deutscher Fotograf in Polen, Marburg 2014 [with D. Popp]. 

See also:

Other archival events from that cycle:

DzieńGodzinaNazwa wydarzeniaMiejsce wydarzenia
12:30 Walk MIRACLE IN PRAGA. NEW COUNCIL HOUSINGMaterial walks #1 Meeting point of walk #1
ul. Jagiellońska 47, Warsaw
12:30 Workshops My Home, Our CityOpen actions for children Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
14:00 Guided tour Guided tour in English of the „Home at Last” exhibition Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
16:00 Guided tour MEETING AT THE EXHIBITION: Olga Drenda Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
12:30 Workshops A RECIPE FOR A HOMEFamily activities Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
14:00 Guided tour Curatorial guided tour of the „Home at Last” exhibition Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
18:00 Workshop with an architect THE CASE OF THE CITY. THE APARTMENT PROJECT Workshop with an architect Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw
18:00 Guided tour Curatorial guided tour of the „Home at Last” exhibition Old printing house
ul. Nowogrodzka 84/86, Warsaw