Conservation and Renovation of the White Pavilion and the Water Tower Together with the Historic Garden

On 6 March 2017, in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Royal Łazienki Museum signed a project funding agreement for conservation and renovation works to be carried out at the White Pavilion and the Water Tower.

The cost of the project "Sources of Transformations. Protection and Sharing of the Historic Heritage of the Royal Łazienki. Conservation and Renovation of the White Pavilion and the Water Tower Together with the Historic Garden of the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw" amounts to 15,023,022.51 zlotys – including 9,651,870.86 zlotys granted by the Ministry of Culture from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the 2014-2020 Operational Programme "Infrastructure and Environment" and 2,412,967.72 zlotys from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. 

The works in the Water Tower will start in September of 2017 and will last until October of 2018. In this period, the following elements of the building will be replaced: the roof covering, the wooden roof structure, the window and door woodwork, the internal stairs and the floors. The internal courtyard will be enhanced and the heating and electrical systems upgraded. In addition, the building will be adapted to the needs of disabled persons. As a result, the Water Tower will regain its former splendour and will house a new exhibition space.

The works in the White Pavilion will begin in November of 2017 and will last until June of 2019. Conservation work will cover the elevation, the windows, the interiors, the polychromes, the ceiling stucco, the floors, the mantelpieces and wooden decorations. The roof and the stairs will be repaired and the basements will be protected against moisture. A fire protection system and new sanitary installations will be added to the building, which will also be adapted to the needs of disabled visitors (induction loop, lift).

After the completion of the works, the entire building will be made open to visitors, who will have an opportunity to contemplate the new arrangements of the Royal apartments on the ground floor and the rooms on the first floor. Another attraction will be the innovative educational space.

The garden surrounding the White Pavilion will also be refurbished. The fountain will be renovated and the paths for visitors remodelled.

Conservation and renovation works to be carried out in the White Pavilion and the Water Tower constitute the next stage of the revitalization of the Royal Łazienki. This undertaking began in 2010, and since then, major buildings of the royal residence have regained their splendour: The Palace on the Isle, the Old Orangery, and the Myślewicki Palace. Conservation works have also been performed on precious collections of paintings, sculptures, and prints. A part of the Museum historic garden has also been refurbished. The total cost of the revitalization programme amounted to over PLN 130 million and was financed by – among others – the European Funds, the Norway Grants, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as well as the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.

Architectural testimony

The White Pavilion, the nearby Water Tower as well as the garden surrounding the two buildings constitute a unique testimony to the architectural legacy of Classicism and the Enlightenment. The White Pavilion was built between 1774 and 1776 according to a design by Domenico Merlini. It is the first Royal Łazienki building which was erected from the ground up on the order of Stanisław August. It belonged to the category of maisons de plaisance – suburban summer villas. The residence was associated with the women who occupied it at the time: the King’s sisters – Ludwika Zamoyska and Izabela Branicka, as well as Elżbieta Grabowska, who was – according to a legend – Stanisław August’s morganatic wife. Between 1801 and 1805, King Louis XVIII of France, who stayed in Poland during his exile, resided in the mansion.

The White Pavilion is a light structure, which harmoniously blends with the surrounding garden. The original wattle and daub structure of the walls on the first storey, the decoration of the elevation, and the historical décor of the 18th century interiors of the building have been preserved. Among the noteworthy items are the grotesques in the Dining Room painted by Jan Bogumił Plersch, which were the first painted decorations of this type in Poland, and the 18th century wallpapers in the Drawing Room, which include wallpapers imported from China and depicting European trading posts in Canton and scenes from Chinese people’s lives.

The Water Tower is a garden pavilion, which used to function as a water tank supplying water to the neighbouring buildings and fountains. It not only has a unique artistic value, but also a historical one – it is a testimony to technical solutions applied in the past. The Pavilion was built in the 17th century, in the times of the first owner of the Royal Łazienki, Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski. In 1777, it gained its characteristic, round shape, and in 1823 – owing to the architect Chrystian Piotr Aigner – a unique decorative appearance which alludes to the Roman tomb of Caecilia Metella. At present, the Water Tower partly fulfils its historical function by collecting water from the bottoms of the nearby hills.

In order to ensure that projects co-financed by the European Union are implemented in an ethical, public and transparent manner, we wish to inform you that reports of possible irregularities and fraud may be communicated via e-mail at nadużycia.POIS@mr.gov.pl or through the electronic reporting system; an appropriate form is available at http://www.pois.gov.pl/strony/zglaszanie-nieprawidlowosci/.

CHRONOLOGY OF WORKS TO BE CARRIED OUT AT THE WATER TOWER AND THE WHITE PAVILION

October 2018 – Works in the Water Tower
Main works in the Water Tower, which are coming to the end, have already allowed guests of Łazienki to see the final effect. A renewed elevation is the most standing out part because outside works have finished first. Inside changes are still ongoing, they are preparing the object for visits of guests. For this purpose, there will be exhibited relicts of heating devices (furnaces) in the hall, as well as other objects which will show a utilitarian function of the building.

August, 2018 – Archeological research on the grounds of the old Neo  gothic Orangery
The Royal Łazienki Museum has received a permission for carrying out an archeological research which will take part in the old Neo – gothic Orangery which is situated in the White House’s surroundings. The aim of the research is to examine preserved archeological relicts of the Orangery. Their extent was initially determined as a result of a geophysical research. The research will be pursue as a part of the project: "SOURCES OF TRANSFORMATIONS. Protection and Sharing of the Historic Heritage of the Royal Łazienki". Works are being currently centered around removing sand and debris from the basement  and exposing a corps of the central gothic Orangery from the east side. Except for a part of the decoration, archeologists have found small parts of a painted parget, as well as a part of pots and hearths. Those findings lead to assume that the Orangery was decorated inside. The aim of the research will also be a promotion of an innovative research solutions including usage of 3D scanner during pursuing work. As a result, there will be created an active, three – dimensional (photorealistic) project documentation and then – an interactive model of discovered relicts and accompanying infrastructure. Thanks to that solution,  there will be available a movie from virtual walk through the facility on the website of the Royal Łazienki . Information about a publication of the movie will be posted on social media channels.

SEE THE VIDEO: THE OLD NEO – GOTHIC ORANGERY

July 2018 – Conservation works and development of the exposition in the White House
Works connected with a conservation of a door and window woodwork are underway, as well as works connected with repairing the roof and the construction of a ceiling on the first floor. The central heating system has been renovated. The group of conservators has been still working in the building. In the same time, in connection with a development of a new exposition system, the specific document was commissioned "The expertise of the White House 18th century furniture and furnishings". The document consists, among other things, an archival query in polish and foreign archives about previous furnishing and the history of the White House.

June 2018 – The finding in the Water Tower
During a renovation in the Water Tower, there was found a wooden gutter which was buckled with carpentry buckles. The gutter was draining a dirty water from the inside part of a yard to the outside part of the building. A wooden construction was laid at a slant which enabled a gravitative water flow. The object was found in a bricky and stony debris, under a floor of the Water Tower which suggest it’s 18th century origin.
In the framework of restoration works, which are planned, wooden samples will be examined on a dendrologic way. It will determine a type of material which was used to build the gutter. After the examination, the gutter will be thoroughly restored and, after the renovation in the Water Tower, it will probably be exposed on an exhibition about water in the Royal Łazienki.

May 2018 – The Water Tower: a postponement of a termination of the work
Date of a termination of the work has been postponed until the autumn 2018 in conjunction with conservatory discoveries, which were found during the works. Meanwhile, the renovation work on a roof has been terminated. The works connected with a conservation of the elevation and a reinforcement of a tank’s vaults, which were discovered inside the building, are underway.

April 2018 – Conservation works in the White Pavilion
Works in The White Pavilion that are being directed by wall paintings restorers are underway. A major specialist’s task is to clean paintings from previous conservations and dirt, as well as to expose original part as precisely as possible. A team of restorers consists of people with different competences and skills. Eventually, through the revitalization of wall paintings, there will be working at least ten painting restorers, two artists who specialize in a sculpture renovation and a technical stuff as a support. 

March 2018 – Additional archeological studies in the Water Tower
The works in the Water Tower are making progress. There has appeared an opportunity to get a fuller knowledge about the building and about its functioning due to current analyses and materials which were obtained during structural – conservation works. A recognition of a container’s underground system of the Water Tower has become essential. Because of a historic nature of the building, the recognition is possible thanks to a deployment of noninvasive archeological methods such as magnetic surveys, resistivity surveys and ground – penetrating radar surveys. The program of noninvasive archeological studies has been developed within the framework of "The archeological expertise – a development of an archival query and of a noninvasive archeological program with an estimate for the Water Tower" which was planned and commissioned in the framework of the project.

February 2018 – Preparation of the Water Tower exhibition
During renovation works which take part in the Water Tower, the project of a constant exhibition in the building is being led. A developed sightseeing path gives an opportunity to lead a viewer through issues connected with a water in the Royal Łazienki Museum. In the same time, all the scenography measures will allow to show the most important aspects of the Water House architecture. The work on a script of the exhibition and on a choice of proper iconographic references is being conducted both ways, as well as a project of an exhibition furniture and finishing materials.

19 January 2018 – Contract for the renovation of the White Pavilion signed
The Royal Łazienki Museum has signed a contract with a company responsible for renovation and conservation works of the White Pavilion. The range of service covers both the interior and their décor, as well as structural and architectural elements. Wall paintings will be renovated, including the famous grotesques of Jan Bogumił Plersch, court painter King Stanisław August, as well as decorative stuccoes, decorated wooden paneling and floors. The project also provides structural reinforcement of the walls and ceilings of the first floor of the pavilion, which will allow to open this part of the building for visitors. The renovation also includes repairing roof truss elements, replacing the roof covering, restoring the façades of their original historical expression, as well as repairing the window and door joinery. Ultimately, the White House will be the place of exhibition, among others, of Royal Gallery of Graphics, in particular a set of prints from Ovid's Metamorphoses, from the 1767-1771 edition.

29 December 2017 – Renovation of a fountain in front of the White Pavilion completed
In mid-December, the Royal Łazienki Museum has formally recognized as completed the renovation and conservation works of the fountain located on the Royal Promenade. Damaged construction was replaced by a new one, reinforced with concrete. The original stone covers surrounding the fountain pool have been renovated and returned to their original place. Water installation of the fountain has been adapted to the current standards of purity of water, which will circulate in a closed circuit now. The effects of modernization will be fully visible in the spring, when the water jet will be launched (a "jet d'eau" system), and the flower garden surrounding the fountain will be filled with flowers.

30 November 2017 – Renovations in the Water Tower and the fountain continues
Renovation and conservation works of the Water Tower are underway. Eventually the building will regain its historical appearance. Lots of valuable information about the past of the building are now available as a result of a query of archival documents, which has just ended. The contractor has already begun cleaning the brick walls inside the building, he also removes the secondary floors. Preparations for the renovation of the rafter framing and façade maintenance have also started. There is also progress in the renovation of the fountain in front of the White House. Many works have already been done, although the final effect will be visible in a while.

13 October 2017 – Renovation of a fountain in front of the White Pavilion
Renovation of the fountain on the Royal Promenade in front of the White Pavilion has begun. The contractor dismantled the damaged construction and proceeded to prepare a new on, reinforced with concrete. Historical stone elements have been cataloged and will soon arrive at the conservation workshop. The results of the renovation will include maintenance of the historic jet d'eau (waterjet) system and restoration of the flowerbeds surrounding the fountain basin.

19 September 2017 – The Water Tower construction site starts
The Royal Łazienki Museum has made the Water Tower available for the contractor of renovation. As a result the construction site starts. The scope of work covers a comprehensive renovation of the building, including i.a. replacement of all installations, reinforcement of the walls and lintel, insulation, renovation of the walls, replacement of the door and windows joinery and fittings. The original communication system between the rooms will also be restored. The conservation work plan includes renovation of architectural stone details (including plinth, portico and outer stairs), interior and exterior elevation along with decorative elements (frieze and attic), floors, internal stairs, roofs and roof elements.

28 August 2017 – Signing of agreement with the contractor
The Royal Łazienki Museum entered into an agreement with the contractor who will carry out the renovation and conservation works at the Water Tower. The works will include renovation and adaptation of the above-ground part of the building, which – due to poor conservation condition – was closed to visitors. The completion of the works is scheduled for the end of May 2018. The Water Tower will be made available to visitors in the spring season of next year. The new exhibition area will feature banners and printed copies of archival materials from the 18th century, as well as a cross-section model of the building, including the equipment used for collecting and storing water.