On 1st June 1932, the architectural design for a multifamily tenement house was approved at the Government Construction Supervision Office in Gdynia. It was located at the junction of Leśna Street and the street which at that time was marked with the number 54 – today’s Warszawska Street. The builder Jan Sikora was the designer and a married couple from Sierakowice, a master carpenter Robert Kolka and his wife Marta, were the investors.
The tenement house was constructed in stages, in years 1933-1938. In 1937, the revised building plan for the building’s wing on the Warszawska Street’s side was completed by the architecture engineer Maksymilian Zuske, a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the Leipzig Polytechnic School. The construction was completed by Jan Sikora and his company Przedsiębiorstwo Techniczno-Budowlane, Jan Sikora, Arch.-Bud. in Gdynia.
The three storey building was built with a full basement, a corner which is one storey higher than he rest of the building, two staircases, a business premises and a gateway on the ground floor. There were three floors with 4 apartments on each (1-, 2-, 3- and 4-room). On the 4th floor, there were 5 bed-sitting rooms. The tenement house was inhabited by junior officials, traders and craftsmen.
It was built of burnt brick, with ceilings supported by wooden and reinforced concrete beams and a flat, wooden roof. The window and door frames were made of pinewood. The floors in the kitchens were wooden and in the bathrooms terracotta. Tiled stoves were used for heating the building.
The body of the building is a unique example of a transitional layout between a cuboidal form and a streamlined one which was typical of functionalism. Marta and Rafał Kolka’s tenement house is one of Gdynia’s first residential buildings with a polygonally closed corner. Earlier, only the solutions on a rectangular plan with clearly emphasized balcony lines were applied.
The wings of different lengths are articulated with rectangular horizontal windows highlighted with window ledges. The building is covered with smooth stucco. The artistic frames of the three portals stand out from it (the gate in Warszawska Street, a shop and an entrance from Wolności Street). The quarter column, embedded side frames have a unique, masonry plaster floral decoration inspired by motifs derived from Kashubian embroidery.
In this geometrised, oblong, floral ornament you can clearly see the motifs of palmettes and buds which can be found in the Żukowo Norbertine nuns’ embroidery patterns.
In the tenement house, there is the original plain, grey terazzo floor which has survived, just as the half-turn reinforced concrete stairs with terazzo steps of the same colour and an openwork, metal balustrade with a geometric decorative solution. There also are original solid wooden double framed and panelled doors with glazed in transom windows on first floor and with solid transoms divided into five plots.