The Krakow Tenement House

“The Krakow Tenement House near the Wawel Royal Castle defines a completely new quality of the Vistula embankments. This building is extremely innovative and very Krakow-like at the same time. It has a dynamic and variable style depending on the observer’s location, which directly refers to the context of the place – the Wawel Royal Castle and the architecture of the Old Town. It takes advantage of the technological potential of our times, but at the same time it is durable and timeless since it is rooted in tradition. We strongly believe in BXB studio that this is the factor which makes it something more than just another modern building”

Bogusław Barnaś

Prizes and awards:

  1. The design of the Krakow Tenement House Hotel near the Wawel Royal Castle was the winner of the international The PLAN Award competition. From among 1,400 applications, the jury selected several hundred finalists, and then a narrow group of 38 winners, including our studio with the Krakow Tenement House project.
  2. The Krakow Tenement House was the winner of the international ACD AWARDS 2022 competition as the only project from around the world in the Hospitality (Concept) category.
  3. The design of the Krakow Tenement House won the third prize and the A’ Design Competition – 2023. It is one of the largest, most prestigious awards in the world in the field of design.
  4. Krakow’s Tenement House near Wawel was included in the list of the 20 best projects in the world according to the London International Creative Competition – Finalist – 2023
  5. The project was awarded in the Architecture Master Prize competition in the Conceptual Architecture category.

History of the Tenement House 

In 1930, the tenement house had a top highest floor added, which was lower than the existing one, probably intended for local fishermen and workers. As a result of reconstruction, it lost all of its glory. Decorations were removed, the brick was covered with plaster, and the proportions were disturbed. The building lost its beauty, which had been refined by the creators of the original project. In the following years, tenement houses in different architectural styles as well as in completely different scale were built in the frontage of Powiśle Street.

We decided to restore the original splendor and beautiful proportions of the designed tenement house, using design measures appropriate to the current times, the context of the place, and the achievements of modern technology. The revitalization involves restoration of the original brick and historical decorations and removal of the top floor, which was carelessly built-up in later years. Thanks to this the tenement house will regain its original proportions and character from 1900.

However, after restoring its original condition, the historical tenement house does not fit so well into the present-day frontage of Powiśle Street. Neighboring tenement houses overwhelm it and create unattractive, disproportionate massive gable walls, which is why we propose an innovative structure.


Historical context in the modern superstructure

The structure of the building defines an innovative structure that grows out of the historical DNA of the place. We aim to find motives typical for Krakow, we are inspired by local architecture – the Wawel Royal Castle, a multitude of styles, Gothic, Krakow domes, Renaissance cloisters and Modernism.

We use the most modern and enviromenmetally friendly technology – CLT glued timber construction, which will minimize the construction loads on the historical substance, as well as transfer a significant part of the work from the construction site to the factory where precise prefabricated elements will be produced.

Architecture of Perception.

Never before have we created such kind of arcihtecture! I call this project Architecture of Perception, which changes  design style according to perspective. Top floor of tenement seen from Dębnicki Bridge will have gothic character, from Vistula’s embankments it reminds renaissance arcades, however from Powiśle Street level top floor softens – reminiscences baroque ornamens. In this manner we acquired  new, dynamic form defined by human’s eye perception.

New, modern form emerges, which grows out of history and tradition. The division of the structure originates from the lower floors and the lines of the windows flow smoothly into the coffered wooden ceiling. Through a soft, slightly deviating line, which refers to the structures of Gothic and Krakow domes, we obtain a beautiful covering of the gable walls of neighboring tenement houses, while minimizing the scale and height of the building seen from the Powiśle Street.

Moreover, the construction of our structure gains innovative, extraordinary dynamics. Observing this object from a perspective, the building has a distinctly Gothic character, with soaring lines, while from close up it resembles Renaissance arcades, even closer it turns into soft forms – reminiscence of Baroque ornaments. Thus, we obtained a new, dynamic form defined by the perception of the human eye in various ways, depending on the perspective.


The front elevation of the building creates an interior of Krakow’s contemporary chambers – probably the most attractive hotel rooms in the city, due to the location, view, character of the interior, as well as unique and pioneering elegance of the designed structure. This structure framework flows smoothly from the facade into a coffered wooden ceiling that decorates hotel rooms. These beautiful wooden ceilings continue the character of historical Krakow interiors.

Rooftop terrace

The roof of our structure becomes a usable terrace, another city lounge, a viewing point for tourists or a place to spend time outdoors. The architecture of the so-called fifth facade, i.e. the roof, has high aesthetical values and is consistent with the construction of the main structure.

The Krakow Tenement House

Project: BXB studio Bogusław Barnaś
Team: Bogusław Barnaś, Bartłomiej Mierczak, Monika Kalinowska, Aleksandra Gawron, Wojciech Buchta,
Urszula Furmanik, Katarzyna Trzepałka, Magdalena Fuchs
Movie and visualisations: Unique Vision Studio Rafał Barnaś
Graphics: BXB studio Bogusław Barnaś
Category: Hotel
Area: 1400 sqm
Location: Poland, Krakow, ul. Powiśle 10
Date: 2022
Client: Epol Holding Sp. z o.o