In September 1932, the design of a tenement house for Juliusz Hundsdorff, the owner of an iron objects and kitchen appliances depot and his wife Helena was approved by the Government Construction Supervision Office in Gdynia. The building was supposed to be constructed at the junction of Starowiejska and Abrahama Streets within the next 4 years.
The design was prepared by a former city builder, Marian Maśliński, who had graduated from the Building School in Poznań (1922).
This multi-family residential building was constructed in two stages – from September 1932 to May 1933, three floors of the corner part and the wing on the Starowiejska Street’s side were built. The construction of this part of the investment was finished in May 1935 and in mid-1936, the wing on the Abrahama Street side was put to use.
A five-storey tenement house with a flat roof, a full cellar and business premises on the round floor came into existence.
The body of the building was given a unique shape. It consists of three parts: the rounded corner one, whose dynamic form was emphasized with balconies with light grey grooved strips and two wings which protruded slightly from the corner’s face as well as wings, whose top floors were recessed from the corner part. The side parts are faced with bright stucco with an addition of mica which sparkles in the sun. It contrasts with the dark ground floor finished with washed terazzo. Both portals are decorated with grooves and they have original, metal frames for signboards and wires as well as a two-armed flagpole.
This is Gdynia’s first building with a rounded corner, which was so typical of functionalism. There are clear references to the expressionist designs by Erich Mendelson.
3 apartments were planned in each of the tenement’s floors. They had 3, or 6 rooms. The corner one had 5. In the attic, there were laundry and drying room. In the buildings’ owners’ bathroom, a gas water heater MARS was installed. The floor was finished with terracotta tiles from the Dziewulski and Lange company.
Each of the building’s wings has a separate staircase, in which many elements of the original fittings have survived. In the wing on the side of Starowiejska Street, there is floor made of corset-shaped tiles and double glazed door with brass square handles. First and foremost, there are the elegant reinforced concrete triple stairs covered with grey terrazzo. They have a streamlined balustrade which was designed in such a way that it perfectly surrounds the lift, which was only installed in 2008. The double apartment doors with glazing and a glazed transom window are original too. The board on the wall to the right of the entrance which presents a piece of the old trim is an interesting element. In the wing on the side of Abrahama Street has double stairs and a grey terrazzo floor with a black frame. On the frame, there is an ornament which resembles black canes connected at the curves.
On 30.04.1987, the building was entered into the Panamanian Voivodeship’s Register of Monuments under the number 1160 (951).
Portal finishing in Starowiejska Street – grooving in masonry plaster, Helena and Juliusz Hundsdorff’s tenement house, 30s of the 20th c., 7 Starowiejska Street/ 2 Abrahama Street, Gdynia, 2020, photograph by Leszek Żurek.
Fragment of corset-shaped-tile floor in the entrance hall of staircase in Starowiejska Street, Helena and Juliusz Hundsdorff’s tenement house, 30s of the 20th c., 7 Starowiejska Street/ 2 Abrahama Street, Gdynia, 2020, photograph by Leszek Żurek.
General view of Helena and Juliusz Hundsdorff’s tenement house, 7 Starowiejska Street/ 2 Abrahama Street, Gdynia, 2020, photograph by Leszek Żurek.