The YMCA building was designed by the Warsaw architects – Stefan Koziński and Bohdan Damięcki. When it came to style, their design made references to the elements of the YMCA buildings in the world. Above all, a brick façade was used and references to the modernist architecture trends of that time were made.
The building consists of two main bodies – the four-storey cuboid part which faces Derdowskiego Street with the recessed attic and a protruding staircase which is visible from the inside – and the lower part of the building which is stretched along Żeromskiego Street and accommodates a two-level gym.
The front part has a rather simple and schematic layout. The same solution was applied in its three top floors and they are divided into eleven window axes. A bright three-storey-high name YMCA was put on the left side. The first floor with the exit and the high stairs that lead to it has wide windows divided by lesenes and a single smaller one which is square. On the left, it was limited with an interesting sculptural structure made of bricks placed on one another at an angle to the wall’s surface. This is not the only case of the unique use of brick as a decorative element which you can see in YMCA. In the body of the staircase, bricks protrude from the wall’s face a little and are combined with single glass bricks built into the wall. This composition gives the wall an interesting texture. You can also admire it in its full glory from the inside, where it not only serves as decoration but also as a source of light for the two-bay staircase which was also complemented with cast-iron handrails.
The building’s lower part is distinguished by streamlined corners and ribbon windows protruding from under the face of the wall. The brick part under them separates them from the glass-brick finishing of the wall. The strongly protruding moulding crowns the body of the building.
In spite of the different levels and the combination of straight and rounded lines, the building constitutes a cohesive whole, which stands out from other Gdynia’s architectural projects.
Fragment of back elevation, turn of 40s and 50s of the 20th c., YMCA Gdynia, 26 Żeromskiego Street, Gdynia, 2020, photograph by Leszek Żurek.
View of the building entrance, turn of 40s and 50s of the 20th c., YMCA Gdynia, 26 Żeromskiego Street, Gdynia, 2020, photograph by Leszek Żurek.