The Kamienica (“Townhouse”)
The kamienica is an urban residence that is built of brick or stone (kamień, in Polish) and which possesses at least two stories. Translation of the term as “townhouse” might suggest the kind of 19th-century residences found in some fashionable historical districts in London or New England; however, many of Poland’s kamienice date back to Renaissance or Baroque times, taking the form of tightly-packed, brightly colored buildings – whose facades and roofs are often adorned with exquisite paintings, mosaics, or sculpture – found in the old town squares of Poland’s great cities. Later kamienice may display classicist, Art Nouveau, or Art Deco architecture. In some cases, the distinctions may blur between a particularly grand kamienica and a small urban pałacyk.