Leopold Taraszkiewicz (1925–2014)
He was born on 11th September 1925 in Šumskas near Vilnius. He began architectural studies at the Faculty of Construction of the Vilnius Technical University, however the war made it impossible for him to continue. He started studying in 1945, but this time at the Faculty of Architecture of the Gdańsk University of Technology. A year before finishing his studies, he began working at the Gdańsk Miastoprojekt – a design studio which took part in the reconstruction of Gdańsk buildings through combining the historic with the modern. He finished his studies in 1950 and only a year later was hired by his Alma Mater’s Department of Urban Architectural Design. In 1952-1954, he also taught in the State School of Art in Gdańsk and at the Szczecin University of Technology in 1956-1957. In 1989-2002, he served as a deputy dean for research at the Faculty of Architecture and in years 1982-2004 he was the head of the Department of Residential Architecture at the Gdańsk University of Technology.
Taraszkiewicz designed public buildings, including many churches. He was very active in this field and from 1972, he was also a member of church committees connected with contemporary church art at the Gdańsk Diocese and from 1976 Pelplin Diocese as well. Among others, he designed St. Stanislaus Church in Andrychów, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Włocławek, the Holy Mary Mother of the Church Church in Tczew, Our Mother of Mercy Church in Radom and the Church of Polish Martyr Brothers in Bydgoszcz.
Blessed Mary Virgin of Holy Rosary in Gdańsk Przymorze is one of the most recognisable buildings designed by him. It was built in 1972-1976. Its construction was strongly connected with the events of December 1970. The shipyard workers who were protesting demanded a permit for its construction. A week after the strike ended, the shipyard workers submitted another petition concerning the same matter to the Voivodeship National Council in Gdańsk. The construction began in 1972. The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Gdynia is another very distinctive building which he designed. Jan Borowski was its co-author. The monumental, compact building with a decorative openwork lantern and a soaring modern tower is located in the very centre of Gdynia and constitutes a very distinctive architectural element of the city’s landscape. This church was linked to the events of December 1970 as well through Rev. Hilary Jastak, the Solidarity chaplain.
The architect received many distinctions, among others the Benemerenti medal awarded by Pope Paul VI, the Mestwin II medal or the Silver Cross of Merit. Taraszkiewicz was also an honorary member of the Architecture Council in the mayor’s office in Sopot.
He died on 25th October 2014 in Gdańsk.