Poland has had a very volatile and culture rich history and this is reflected in its architecture.
There are not many buildings left from the beginnings of the Polish state due to them being made of wood and clay. However, the buildings that have stood the test of time are beautiful churches made of stone. But as Poland was invaded by foreigners, they brought with them their styles of building.
This can be seen in the Gothic architecture first implemented in the 13th Century by the arrival of members of the Dominican and Franciscan orders, and many of Poland’s iconic buildings were built in this style. Mostly built in brick, you will find some that are made of stone. However, it is generally only the grander buildings like churches that follow this Gothic style of architecture, as opposed to housing.
It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s in post-war Poland that residential housing made from brick – renowned for its insulating qualities – became popular and in the last 25 years there has been exceptional growth in Polish wealth which has led to many Poles being able to build their own property. The abundance of land has also allowed owners to experiment with their own specifications.
Pre-war there were stucco houses, which were usually one storey basic bungalows – a kitchen with a stove to heat the house, single glazing and not much else. However, some of these properties have been modernised to add internal bathrooms and be more inhabitable.
Many properties were built with a lower ground floor, which is half below ground level and normally used as a cellar or pantry to store food in. A fair proportion of these buildings are now used to accommodate small businesses.
These houses have more storeys, being designed to house two families (or three depending on the number of storeys). This type of house was mainly used to provide separate accommodation for older children who have since married and may have been saving for their own house. Subsequently, these properties are great for holiday lets or long term rentals.
In the late 1970s and 80s, there was a property boom fuelled by loans from the Soviet Union. This boom continued into the 1990s as a way of home owners impressing neighbours, as properties became larger and with an air of grandeur. However, due to their size, not all properties came with a lot of land as the focus was more on the bigger the better.
The Polish also like to have recreational houses that are used in the summer or at weekends, as these are built with little insulation, so are not ideal for use during the cold Polish winters. This type of house is growing in popularity as Poland becomes wealthier, allowing Poles to buy second plots of land. Many pre-war houses are also now sold as recreational houses.
Looking for a more commercial property?
Many of the palaces built by Polish aristocracy were confiscated during socialist times by the authorities and fell into disrepair. Some have since been renovated and are used as hotels and conference centres, but there are still a great many that require substantial investment and have the potential to be great commercial buildings.
If these traditional types of property don’t take your fancy, then Poland has had a modernism movement bringing interesting shaped buildings and new designs and ideas. Juxtaposing against the traditional buildings of an older Poland, these buildings are certainly a sight to see.
Polish architecture is very varied and there will be a house type for you available.
If you are looking to buy a place in Poland that you can earn an income off of, please see our selection here.