In August 1936, Elza Elsner, the owner of the “Fotobrom” photographic studio which operated at that time, finished the construction of her tenement house in 3 Portowa Street.
The last tenement of the east frontage of the street, opposite the famous oak tree which is no longer there, was designed in 1934, by Eugeniusz Maciejewski, a graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology (1928). He also supervised the construction works, which were completed by the company Przedsiębiorstwo Inżynieryjno-Budowlane J. Strachalski i Ska.
The five-storey building with cuboid forms, which were typical of functionalism, is distinguished by a unique offset body of the building. On the ground floor, there are shop windows with large glazings. They are the example of Le Corbusier's principle of free façade, which made the building seem light and look as if it was floating above the street level. The tenement has a cellar, brick walls and a flat wooden roof.
The walls of the particular floors are coated with light grey stucco. This way, they are visually separated from the darker, brown and claret ground floor which is finished with decorative corrugated solid balustrade of the terrace.
In the tenement house’s design, on the 1st and 2nd floor, 2-room apartments with bathrooms, kitchens and servant’s rooms were planned. They were connected with the offices which were located on the side facing Portowa Street. Eugeniusz Maciejewski planned streamlined balconies on the front elevation. However, ultimately they were not completed. In the staircase, a lift shaft was planned, however it has not been installed until now.
The building’s entrance hall has a unique artistic composition. It consists of a “carpet-like” floor in the corridor which runs from the entrance door to the staircase which is closer to the building’s back end as well as the ceramic wall cladding. The floor was arranged into a composition of three-coloured white, grey and black corset-shaped tiles in a black frame. The distinct floor composition which gives the impression of rippling was complemented with uniquely coloured azure 15 x 15 cm shiny glazed terracotta wall tiles. The surface covered with the azure tiles was highlighted with black ceramic stripes – a thicker one which ran near the floor and met the corset-tile frame and a thin one, in the upper part, before the last row of the turquoise tiles on the wall. The remaining part of the tenement house’s original décor is simple, in muted tones. The staircase wall was made of grey terrazzo framed with a black stripe. The reinforced concrete stairs with a full brick balustrade with a wooden handrail are finished with light grey terrazzo on the treadboards. The risers are painted with a claret oil paint. The staircase walls are decorated with a sand-colour oil dado. Its bottom part has a rough and shiny texture.