Let us move to a different place: 20 Chłodna Street. Here, on the estate (mortgage number 770), in the years of 1819-1820 a small townhouse was built by Mr W. Kijok. The building’s gateway had a semicircular entrance. The ground floor was occupied by commercial premises, with large storefronts and wooden window shutters. Over the aforementioned gateway, at the height of the last storey, was a clock. The buildings also included brick annexes and old, wooden outhouses. Later on, right before the beginning of World War I (in the years of 1912-1923), the existing townhouse was replaced by a new one, which remains there to this day.
The building is six-storey 1 a legal entity in the Polish legal system from bygone centuries denoting a privately-owned tract of land within a larger municipality high, with additional annexes and had two closed-off yards. It had been designed by a well-known architecture company of two gentlemen: Mr J.N. Czerwiński and Mr W. Heppen. The townhouse has 6 axes and has a very particular, wavy coping stone on the façade, which gives a decorative air to the front building; the façade could be described as a melange of early modernism, Neo-Baroque and Neoclassicism. Another interesting feature of the design is a two-storey bossage of the socle supporting the upper part of the façade. The townhouse has been adorned with decorative moulding: ornaments, such as lesenes or medallions, give it an elegant, sophisticated look. On the axis of the façade is a clock, the face of which has been ornamented with stucco. Sadly, due to numerous damages from the time of the Warsaw Uprising, the highest storey of the building has been taken down after the war and the embellishments did not make a return after that. The townhouse’s foregate has been furnished with doorways to the stores, which were situated on both of its sides; today, those rooms function as commercial premises. The entrances were decorated with overdoor pediments and garlands. A heavy, triple-leaf door, half fitted with glass, opens to the first yard. In the middle of the gateway lies the entrance to the main staircase with five steps of gray, veined marble. The entrance is supported by two decorative columns. Inside, for a moment, one is under the impression of having entered a different world, but, sadly, the awe is replaced by disappointment once we find ourselves in the yard. The old, mossy walls do nothing for the townhouse in the matter of charm.
It should also be mentioned that the base of the front of the building, in its six-axes entirety, has been taken over by shops, and the gateway has moved over onto the fifth axis. The first floor windows on the outer axes, all of them closed off by a gentle arch, have balconies with stone banisters on modest corbels. The third and fourth axes bear a double balcony, the keystone of which is a garland-adorned medallion. A similar detail also decorates the robust corbels supporting the bay windows, which go all the way up from the second floor and which seem to be a trademark of the Heppen-Czerwiński duet. The architects have given them a vertical form, further enhanced by lesenes. Between the bay windows, there are two axes, similarly framed with lesenes and - on the fourth storey level - with small double columns. Right underneath those, on the first storey level, one can see a rather remarkable feature connecting the two bay windows - a sort of an hommage to the clock from the first townhouse built on the property; this one, however, has been installed into an ornamental frame of acanthus vines and garlands. A male mask is situated over the clock - perhaps in the character of an allegory of time. On the sides, at the bay windows’ base, are multiple statues, the meaning of which is rather tasking. Each of them depicts a couple of children in the nude; the first couple carrying a sculpted bust and a painting with a medallion, the second one holding a scythe and a rake; in the third couple, the standing child has a sort of a cloak on its shoulder, and in the fourth one (this one being completely reconstructed) one of the children is holding onto a paper scroll, while the other one is reading. It is possible that the statues reference different genres of art or, perhaps, the seasons; it isn’t quite clear.
Before the war, the front building contained a lift. The shaft was, however, eliminated later on, and bathrooms for the townhouse’s residents took its place. The townhouse at number 20 is sometimes called the “Townhouse under the Clock”; in the past, some nicknamed it “the White House”. The annexes of the building are no longer as impressive as they used to be. In 1939, the townhouse belonged to Zygmunt Lewy; during the war, the building ended up being within the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Before the war, the commercial premises included:
-wholesale of soda, produced by SOL-VAX
-sale of oil products and chemicals St. Filipowski
-photography studio Foto-Hollywood, owned by Z. Wypustek
After the war, the ground floor contained a grocery store and a studio of a craftsman making shoe uppers. Before the war, the townhouse’s residents included Adam Czerniakow, head of Judenrat2, as well as Marian Kister, who used to live on the (now gone) fifth storey and who, in collaboration with Melchior Wańkowicz, created the Rój publishing house, known for such things as publishing The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma or discovering the author of Dziewczęta z Nowolipek (The Girls of Nowolipki). As a curious fact, we should also mention that the second yard still bears the old, metal encasing of the water well, decorated with a lion’s head; that very encasing has been qualified as a historical treasure and added to the register of historic monuments.