The Jankowo Palace, which urgently requires reconstruction, is a real treasure and symbol of the history and culture of the region. However, nearly 70 years of progressive degradation have stripped it of its former splendor and majesty. The Palace and Park Complex in Jankowo, located in the Pakość commune, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, is an incredibly picturesque place, situated on the elevated bank of the western part of Lake Pakoskie.
The neo-Gothic palace, listed in the register of monuments under number A 238/2, is a masterpiece of architecture, characterized by pointed arch transoms, turret towers, balustrades with a trefoil motif, flat areas in parapet walls, and cartouches with German moralizing sentences. The irregularly shaped building has its longest axis measuring 54.5 m and the shortest 20 m. The main entrance to the palace leads through the western portico, supporting a terrace on the first floor. A twin portico on the other side of the palace leads to a charming garden. The palace is faced westward, offering magnificent views of Lake Pakoskie. Decorations such as suspended columns with decorative leaf-shaped capitals, balustrades, ornamental flat areas, and turret towers give this place a unique charm and special character.
The current state of the Jankowo Palace is a sad testament to years of neglect and irresponsible actions that have deprived it of many of its original details and functions. Its former glory has been dimmed by a series of misguided conservation decisions and a lack of effective protection against the ravages of time.
Although the external walls and load-bearing walls still stand proudly, the rest of the structure has suffered considerable damage. All original architectural elements, so important to the character of the palace, such as ceilings, internal walls, or staircases, not only have been destroyed but were also replaced in the 1990s with carelessly made elements that do not reflect the spirit of the original construction. The use of low-quality materials and lack of compliance with the historical designs of the palace caused even these new elements, despite their short period of use, to be already in a critical condition.
Additionally, the temporary rescue roof, while fulfilling its protective role, only provides a provisional solution that does not ensure long-term protection against atmospheric influences.
Moving to the surroundings of the palace, the degradation of the area cannot be overlooked. Neglected alleys, wild overgrowth, and careless maintenance mean that the space around the palace loses value, becoming unattractive and unsafe. But that's not all. Another blow to the historical value of the property was the use of modern materials in the facade and window joinery. The introduction of PVC windows, which replaced traditional wooden windows, not only lowered the aesthetic value of the palace but also had a harmful effect on its historical details. Similarly, the decision to cover the facade with styrofoam insulation was a hasty decision that now requires correction.
All these unfortunate "innovations" not only destroy the spirit and history of the palace but also pose a real threat to its structure. Immediate intervention is needed to ensure its future for the next centuries.
Since its establishment in 2011, the Jankowo Foundation has taken on the responsibility of gathering and preserving all information related to the Jankowo Palace. Its primary goal has been the mission of restoring the original appearance and function of this unique monument. Over years of systematic action, the Foundation has gathered a rich collection of materials, including archival photographs, construction plans, documents, and personal recollections of people associated with the palace.
A key moment for the Foundation was the opportunity to collaborate with Baroness Urszula v. Gear, the last heiress of the palace. Her invaluable memories, family anecdotes, and family documents became an important source of knowledge about the history and function of the palace. Thanks to her stories, it was possible to better understand the daily life of the palace's residents, the traditions, and rituals that took place within its walls.
The knowledge gathered by the Foundation not only serves to reconstruct the appearance of the palace but also allows understanding its role in the local community and the history of the region. As a result, future generations will have access to a complete picture of the palace, its functions, and its place in history.
Baroness Urszula v. Gear, by sharing her memories, passed on not only facts but also feelings and emotions associated with the palace. As a result, the renovation works conducted under the auspices of the Jankowo Foundation can have not only a technical but also a spiritual character. By rebuilding the palace, its soul and atmosphere, present during its heyday, are also being restored.
In this mission, the Jankowo Foundation is not only the guardian of the past but also the builder of the future, ensuring that the Jankowo Palace becomes a living testament to history and a meeting place for future generations.
The estimated sum needed for the renovation of the palace is about 5 million euros - a value that may seem astronomical at first glance. However, when considering the scope of work aimed at restoring the palace to its former glory, it becomes clear why this amount is so significant. This budget includes not only the reconstruction of architectural elements but also the replacement of installations, renovation of details and finishes, and the application of modern technologies that will ensure the palace's durability for the next centuries.
The ultimate success of this investment depends not only on capital but also on advanced technologies and materials that allow for the combination of tradition with modernity. Contemporary conservation methods will allow preserving the original character of the palace while ensuring safety and functionality standards applicable in the 21st century.
To more closely detail the scope of work that needs to be carried out, let's focus on a few key aspects of revitalization.
Technical Condition Diagnostics:
A detailed technical diagnosis of the palace is necessary, including geodetic surveys, wall moisture measurements, microscopic plaster examinations, and an assessment of the ceiling structures, which need to be removed and replaced with new constructions without compromising the external and load-bearing walls, which are in surprisingly good technical condition after preliminary examinations. Specialists must design all installations that were dismantled back in the 1990s.
It will be necessary to restore the original plasters and frescoes and renovate decorative architectural details. Many elements will need to be recreated based on existing details and documentation gathered by the Jankowo Foundation. Window and door carpentry, flooring, and other fittings must be made from scratch, as these elements have not survived to this day. Traditional conservation techniques must be used to restore the authentic character of the interiors. External facade plasters must be developed based on collected samples of original plaster fragments, and plastering techniques must be executed according to the collected documentation and photos.
Strengthening the foundations and load-bearing walls will be necessary to ensure the long-term stability of the structure. Then, ceilings will be made according to the collected documentation, and the roof reconstruction will be carried out in accordance with the original designs, using appropriate materials. Modern insulation solutions will be introduced that do not disrupt the historical character of the building.
Modern ventilation, heating, and air conditioning systems will need to be introduced, hidden so as not to disrupt the historical character of the interiors. This also applies to the update of electrical, plumbing, and safety installations, while maintaining the aesthetics of the interiors.
The original purpose of some rooms will be restored, while others will be adapted for new functions (e.g., museum, business, or educational) so that the palace can serve the local community, business, and tourists. Modern technologies will also be used to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
The Magnificent Renaissance of Jankowo Palace:
The significance of the Jankowo Palace in the context of global architectural heritage cannot be overstated. This unique building, once restored, will surely gain the reputation of one of the most beautiful neo-Gothic manors in the world. It is a record of rich history and complex cultural transformations that took place in its era. The characteristic neo-Gothic towers, majestic arches, and decorative details make the Jankowo Palace a true architectural gem. Its revival will not only preserve but also strengthen the position of the neo-Gothic era as an important period in architectural history, which is immensely valuable for cultural and historical heritage on a global scale.
Multifunctionality and Modernity at the Heart of Tradition:
When thinking about adapting the historic palace and its adjacent park, one cannot forget the important role it is to play in today's world. The idea of this place as a center that combines museum, training, scientific, business, and tourism functions, as well as serves health and recreation, is truly fascinating. As a result, the Jankowo Palace can become not only a place of extraordinary heritage but also a modern and innovative center that will attract the elite from various fields - from business, through medicine, to science.
Integrated Approach to Revitalization:
Paying attention to the renewal of the palace and the care for the surrounding green areas are two aspects that together create a comprehensive picture of the revival of this place. It's not just about preserving historical heritage – it's also about reactivating it, making it a living testament to the past in a modern context. The entire revitalization project harmoniously fits into both national and European policy, emphasizing the protection of cultural heritage and highlighting the importance of European identity in modern times.
Support and Financing - Keys to Success:
No renovation would be possible without the necessary financial means. Fundraising from various sources, including both institutional and private, is essential for undertaking such a complex endeavor. The ultimate success of the renovation depends on the support of the community, donors, and various institutions willing to invest in the revival of the palace.
Donors who decide to support this ambitious project play a key role in its implementation. Their involvement is not just a financial matter – it's also an expression of belief in the cultural and historical value of the palace and a conviction about the importance of its reconstruction for future generations.
With such a vast investment, every form of support matters – both large donations and smaller, symbolic contributions. The final decision on the scope and pace of the works will depend on the commitment of the community that believes in the revival of this extraordinary place.