The revitalisation of the L’UNI building has contributed to the unveiling of long hidden archaeological mysteries. Research work and conducted analyses have helped to establish what could have been located underneath the investment in the past, to discover ceramic pieces from the downturn of the Early Middle Ages, and to secure a cast-concrete bunker door.
The prestigious investment of the L’UNI office building is being constructed in an edifice designed by a renowned architect from Wrocław named Theodor Milczewski back in 1864. In the early days, the building housed the Mineralogical and Palaeontological Museum of the University of Wrocław. In 1939, conversion works were performed on the building to protect it from any war damage and the basement was transformed into a bunker. Post war, it became the seat for the Faculty of Pharmacy of Wrocław Medical University.
“Having conducted archaeological research and a range of analyses of the discovered items as well as their nature and recurrence, we assumed that it is highly likely that a manufacturing plant - fabrica ecclesiae - was located in that area in the 13th century. It can be determined with a high probability that it was a brick factory. One of the arguments that supports the idea is the location of the facility, namely the fact that sand, mud, and wood were easily obtainable there. Discovered fireplaces without domes, where low temperatures were obtained, also indicate that they were not dedicated neither to smelt, nor to process raw materials,” – says dr Aleksander Limisiewicz – an archaeologist.
During the archaeological excavations, pieces of ceramic utensils, an iron knife, ceramic building materials, and whetstone were found.
“In the basement there was a war bunker with a runaway tunnel to the city centre. The entrance was protected by a sizeable concrete door, which was so heavy that it presented a challenge to remove. The door was transferred to the Fort Wrocław No. 9 – Military Museum. What is also noteworthy is the granite cantilevered stairs with a cast-iron railing located in the side staircase dated 1866, which will be fully renovated. Cantilevered stairs constitute an extremally fascinating and eye-catching archaeological element that add lightness to the space” – says Waldemar Weintritt, Project Engineer at JP Weber – an advisory company which is managing the revitalisation project.
The building is currently undergoing revitalisation and in mid-2022 will be commissioned as an office building, whose exceptional character will be owed to the combination of historical elements with modern archaeological thought. The building will be fully modernised and completed to the highest of standards.
“From the very beginning we knew that L’UNI was an exceptional project due to the history of the place as well as the unique archaeological heritage. The archaeological discoveries made have only reconfirmed our beliefs. Once the renovations are completed, the building will provide circa 3 600 m2 of office space of the highest standard to lease. Combining the attributes of a historical building, i.e., high-ceilinged rooms and sizeable opening windows with all of the indispensable facilities of a modern office building, will add to the work comfort of future tenants,” - adds Anna Patrzyk-Sperzyńska, Associate Director at Knight Frank, the company responsible for the commercialisation of the building.
Research and structural works were completed as part of the construction works in the basement of the building. Any bulk finds discovered during the construction works were catalogued, renovated, their chronology was determined, drawing documentation prepared, and were subsequently transferred to the relevant museums.
The name L’UNI is a reference to the French word “L'Université”, which is perfectly linked to the history of the place since the investment is being carried out in a Neo-Renaissance building of the former Faculty of Pharmacy at Wrocław Medical University.
The structural stage of the renovation was completed in July and, to mark that occasion, a time capsule was placed within the walls, containing: a commemorative article on the L’UNI revitalisation, a photograph of the construction workers, MPK tickets, a postcard from Wrocław, one copy of a newspaper from 11th August 2021, several pages of archaeological research, a contemporary map of the city, a panoramic view of L’Uni, the University Bridges, the Tamka and Słodowa Islands, and a protective mask as a symbol of the pandemic during which the renovation of the historical building was carried out.
L’UNI will offer circa 3 600 m2 of office space for lease with a magnificent view of the Odra river. The highlights of a historical building, such as high-ceilinged rooms, sizeable windows, and noble materials have been supplemented with all indispensable facilities attributed to office buildings – air conditioning, access control, a BMS system, fibre optics, opening windows, and infrastructure for cyclists. The project, which is currently under construction, includes the installation of a glass roof – making the top floor fully functional, and the rooms there will have a glorious view of the river and Słodowa Island. The original proportion of the structure of the building will, at the same time, be preserved.
Maćków Pracownia Projektowa is responsible for the revitalisation and the project is managed by JP Weber, overseen by Prime Project with the “Oz-Bud” construction and service company as the prime contractor. Knight Frank, as an exclusive agent, will be in charge of the commercialisation of the space.