Twentieth-century urban plans of Rybnik and their implementation

As part of the ‘Architectural Triad’ series, we cordially invite you to three meetings with Dr Jacek Kamiński. The theme of the lectures concerns the twentieth-century urban plans of the town of Rybnik, presented against a background of the broad social, political and economic context of their creation and implementation. The lectures also constitute a presentation of selected aspects of the speaker’s doctoral dissertation prepared under the academic supervision of Professor Magdalena Żmudzińska-Nowak PhD hab. Arch. and defended by its author at the Faculty of Architecture at the Silesian University of Technology in 2021. The lectures also promote a book entitled Twentieth-century Urban Plans of Rybnik and their Implementation, published by Rybnik Museum and edited by Dr Bogdan Kloch.

Owing to the wide range of subject matter, a series of three meetings were prepared:

The first meeting, held on 29th April 2021, entitled ‘Rybnik at the beginning of the 20th century and Prussian urban planning’, is an introduction to the theme. An outline of the spatial development of the city from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century is presented. The increase in population at the latter time induced the development of the first plan – water and sewage systems in 1904. Despite it being an industrial project, this plan should be considered as being an urban project, as it designated new streets and quarters for development. It was only partially implemented, and nine years later it was replaced by the visionary Building Development Plan inspired by renowned Berlin architect Henry Gross. The implementation and completion of the wonderful city of La Belle Epoque was thwarted by the First World War.

The second meeting, held on 6th May 2021, entitled ‘Rybnik in the times of the Second Polish Republic and the German occupation’, relates to the urban planning of the town, which, owing to the high world politics of the time, occurred during the reborn Second Polish Republic, and in this barely seventeen-year period led to the commissioning of several noteworthy plans. Hitler’s acts of aggression interrupted their implementation, but the new masters were also to leave behind interesting planning achievements.

The third meeting, held on 13th May 2021, entitled ‘Urban plans of Rybnik in the period of the People’s Republic of Poland and the reality of development’, is an opportunity to present the state of the town following the battles of 1945, and to present further plans befitting the changing situation in the People’s Republic of Poland. A look at the urban problems of the then capital of the Rybnik Coal District is of extreme significance now, since the current condition of the town is largely a legacy of those times.

The meetings with Dr Jacek Kamiński are moderated by Professor Magdalena Żmudzińska-Nowak PhD hab. Arch.
Because it is not possible to present all the materials utilised during the lectures, many of which are published for the first time, we encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the dissertation and its book edition.

Dr Jacek Kamiński, BSc PhD Arch. describes himself as originating from Rybnik, although he spent the first days of his life in Knurów. An architect by profession, he works as an antiquarian at the ‘Pod Manekinem’ Gallery, and is associated with the Institute of Architecture Documentation at the Silesian Library. A lover of local history and heritage, including the regrettably vanishing architectural heritage. He has published one or two pieces on these topics. Of the numerous intercessions at endangered sites, only a few have proved successful. But he does not lose hope and will continue to harass the demolitionists and modernisers.

The lectures are held on the YouTube channel of the Institute of Architecture Documentation at the Silesian Library