Since 1907 Szymanów, a locality situated in the environs of Warsaw, has been the seat of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary. At the time, this was the only centre of the Order in the Kingdom of Poland, within the restrictive conditions imposed by the Russian partition authorities. The order purchased from Prince Konstanty Lubomirski a palace standing in a sprawling park, and soon expanded by adding a part intended for a boarding school. The moment the nuns arrived in Szymanów they took into consideration the need for constructing a sepulchre. The initiative was commenced at the end of the summer of 1910 and completed in the following year. The Warsaw-based architect Zygmunt Tillinger, who supervised the expansion of the palace, was the author of the project. The erected catacombs are a typical example of Classical sepulchral art from the early twentieth century. The basic element is an imposing portal in front of the corps of the burial part in the form of a projection towering over it. The first catacombs, built together with the portal, contain two spans facing each other. Each span contained three crypts, arranged along an axis on three storeys. The whole sepulchre was maintained in the form of an interior with a single entrance, covered with a barrel vault, and with side walls created by the spans with characteristic deep niches of the crypts. Subsequently, successive segments of the catacombs were added together with a strip situated perpendicularly to the axis of the sepulchre. The catacombs in Szymanow, whose architectural configuration became a point of departure for the expansion, are arranged in three strips, two of which are parallel and standing at a distance, thus making it possible to ensure unhampered communication between them; from the entrance they are closed with a monumental portal, designating the axis of the whole future premise. The third, diagonal strip was placed in the back, perpendicularly to the two first ones, and the distance between it and their gables was intended for a passageway. The passage along the section adjoining the portal was covered with a cradle ceiling, which at this point creates a covered corridor. The remaining sections of the passages are devoid of roofs. Pilasters marking the vertical rhythm of the spans, which, in turn, contain three crypt storeys each, divide each strip of the catacombs. The expansion of the Szymanow catacombs shaped the architectural structure in which the historical building erected in 1910 was connected with the contemporary edifice, referring to solutions presented in the oldest part and the segments added later on. The sepulchral premises produced by the expansion and the first catacombs posses a closed plan; the same holds true for the first catacombs. The historical portal is displayed along the axis of the expanded facade, whose new parts assumed the function of the northern and southern wing. Due to its portals, whose configuration of solids refers to the monumental, severe architecture of the early twentieth century, each wing turned into a background of the central part.
mgr inż., jest absolwentem Wydziału Budownictwa Lądowego Politechniki Warszawskiej i Studium Podyplomowego Badań Zabytków Architektury na Wydziale Architektury tejże uczelni. Przez długie lata związany był z ochroną i konserwacją zabytków nieruchomych w strukturach PKZ O/Warszawa i później – jako kierownik Pracowni Konserwacji Konstrukcji Murowanych – w Oddziale Badań i Konserwacji PKZ. Zawodowo zajmuje się problematyką konserwatorską i projektowaniem konstrukcji budownictwa współczesnego. Obecnie na emeryturze.
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