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NCU Auditorium facade panels renovated

The renovation of the NCU Hall’s facade panels, designed by Stefan Knapp and installed fifty years ago, has been successfully completed. This distinctive decoration was created to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus’ birth.

The project, including the restoration and conservation work, began on July 31, 2023. 170 m² of panels were removed from the facade of the NCU assembly hall. Both employees and students of the Faculty of Fine Arts actively participated in restoring the entire composition, which consists of 255 square panels.

How the idea originated?

Firstly, Dr. hab. Joanna Kucharzewska, the former dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, initiated the conservation work on the panels. Together with Dr. hab. Piotr Niemcewicz, NCU professor, they prepared a conservation work programme, which was a foundation for the whole renovation process. Moreover, Anna Zaręba, along with Mgr. Arletta Piasecka, Mgr. Zuzanna Jarmulska, Mgr. Adam Kaźmierczak, and Damian Rumiński, were responsible for the conservation work.

The Centre for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage at NCU conducted all the research and conservation work with the help of Dr. Grażyna Szczepańska from the Department of Conservation—Restoration of Architecture and Sculpture.

The composition is inspired by the solar system and celestial bodies. What’s more, the decoration of the NCU Hall facade is made using specialised enamel technique. The entire structure is attached to the wall of the building. Because of that, the conservation team faced significant challenges in crafting the programme, as they encountered limitations in assessing the entire panels without taking them off.

Challenges and Swift Restoration Efforts

The facade’s deteriorated condition, caused by corrosion and external damage, added complexity to the project. As a result, urgency was paramount, demanding swift execution of the restoration efforts. During August and September 2023, two groups carried out the conservation. After a short holiday break, the entire team, excluding diploma thesis students, remained committed throughout October. Finally, the panels were renovated and can now be enjoyed by campus visitors.

You can read more about the NCU here.

The Polish version of the artcile by Maria Willam here.