Humankind through the timeline has witnessed several incidents when the dreams or ambitions of individuals or groups have created both wonders as well as fallacies. Whether it is constructing The Taj Mahal or shifting the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, the ambitions of individuals have often led the world to witness an example of how things can be the best in class or the worst.
Similar is the case with a Polish Artist Piotr Kazimierczak who had a dream of creating a whole castle for himself rather than a house. The Castle known with the name Lapalice Castle is located about 40 kilometres from the Polish city of Gdansk in a small town named Lapalice. Though being slightly devastated, the castle is admired by architects, artists, and designers for its design and architecture. Standing somewhere in the middle of a landscaped park, it often reminds people of the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at Hogwarts to form the famous novel by J K Rowling, Harry Potter.
Even after 40 years, the castle is in a condition that the construction can be continued. There is graffiti and inscriptions spread all over the walls of the castle created at the site by the tourists visiting the castle. The Castle over time has become one of the most attractive places for tourists and Urban Explorers mainly in the Spring and Autumn seasons.
History of the Castle
Piotr Kazimierczak was a sculptor and owned a furniture factory. Since his childhood, he had an aspiration to get a castle built for himself. His furniture business flourished with time giving him the funds to execute his crazy dream. He was approved with the permission to build a 1000 square meters house for himself but how could his huge dream ‘house’ fit in such a small area?
The construction was started in 1984 when the Peoples’ Republic of Poland was a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The construction was permitted for a house with an art studio located in a Landscape Park. The sculptor had an idea of a perfect building inspired by the Krzyżtopór Ossoliński castle located in the village of Ujazd, Iwaniska commune, Opatów County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in southern Poland about 600 kilometers from Lapalice.
Planning and Construction
The artist was very specific in the design of the castle with symbolism used almost everywhere. The total number of windows in the castle counts to be 365 symbolizing the number of days in a year. The castle was supposed to be an aesthetic miracle of the place consisting of beautiful Chambers, a Garden, a ballroom, an indoor swimming pool, observation towers, and lounges with decorated coffers.
The number of chambers and towers was taken as 52 and 12, representing the number of weeks and months in a year respectively. The number of towers was also known to be symbolizing apostles from the Holy Bible.
The building for which the administration permitted a total area of 1000 square meters gradually through construction spread around six times the permitted area, around 6000 square meters. This breach of the permission was only noticed by the officials in 1991, after seven years the construction started. In 1991, the sculptor needed to build an additional technical building with the castle, for which the officials inspected the ongoing construction and found out the owner had not only overlooked the permission but also captured the lands of other people or government around the castle and the construction was suspended by the Administration.
Apart from the legal obstructions, the funds with the owner also ran out in these seven years of construction and the owner was unable to bear the construction expenses anymore. In this way, the construction came to a pause after seven years of initiation.
The Castle Today
Though the site is an attraction to visitors, being a building plot, entry to the building is prohibited by the authority. The people entering the building premises without permission are considered trespassers.
Since the suspension of construction, Kazimierczak, the owner has applied several times to be allowed to continue the construction of his castle, but to date, none of the applications have been accepted and the castle remains the same as it was left 40 years ago excluding the additions made by visitors on the surfaces. One of the major causes behind the unfinished building becoming such a tourist attraction is its monumental scale. Such a building located in a landscape park makes it a preferred picnic spot for people living nearby.
As of now, the dream of an artist seems to be lost in time, but in recent times there has been a ray of hope that the castle will be completely constructed soon as the city council has agreed to think of ideas which could make the unfinished building usable in some other aspect after being completely built. The sculptor, Piotr Kazimierczak has already presented his agreement in working with the city council to realize his dream which has been on a halt for four decades.
Human ambitions have always led to unbelievable things both positive and negative. Since 1991, the castle has been an abandoned place, thus considered a negative result of man’s ambition but hopefully, someday the castle will be completely built. Whatever be the use of the building, each element of the building will tell the story of the architectural marvel. The one thing that remains constant throughout life is time. It’s the time that changes something ‘Lost in time’ to ‘Worth your time.’
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