Welcome to the shopping center “Magnus”
MAGNUS Shopping Center is a historical building built in 1912. From 1960 till 2003 The Central Department Store was located here. In 2003-2004 it was completely renovated and got its old name MAGNUS back. Here you can find the newest collections of famous brands and a huge variety goods from local designers.
At present it is a sample of civilized commerce in the Western Ukraine and one of the most beautiful trading centers. It is a place which can be proudly shown to the guests of Lviv. What proves it is the fact that “MAGNUS” is regularly visited by prominent people to spend time and go shoping.
There is a building of the Commodity Store Magnus (“MAGNUS”) at the corner of the streets Horodotska and Shpytalna in Lviv. It used to be known as Central Department Store (CDS) and in the past it was engineer Skibniwski and doctor Frenkl’s property.
Area this monumental edifice is situated in has great and rich history. The modern Horodotska street has been mentioned in 1570 as St.Anna’s street, though it appeared much earlier. Long time ago Western merchants came to Lviv on this way, bringing caravans with various European goods to the city. Initial name originated from St. Anna’s church. The street was included into Krakow suburb and was densely populated mostly by Ukrainians, whose houses were hidden in thick gardens. The adjacent land belonged to the Radzivill princes. Since 1871 the area of Horodotska street one of two fronts of the building looks on got the name of Kazymyrivska, in honour of two Polish kings. The main accent of the street at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries were tenement houses, shops and small hotels. Multi-storey building-up of this period is a kind of evidence of financial and economic development of Lviv. The modern name – Horodotska – was given to the street in 1990, when the previous one – The 1st of May street – was changed. Many Lvovians still bear another name in mind – Chapayev street (1944-1964). Contraty to the versatility of Horodotska street’s names, Shpytalna street in fact has not changed its name, which comes from the Jewish hospital, since 1871.
Many buildings, erected after 1920 with Felinskyy’s participation are situated in Warsaw, but the most prominent ones were constructed in Lviv at the period from 1909 to 1913. Capital city of Austrian-Hungarian Halychyna – Lviv – at that time offered possibilities for realization of the most ambitious and expensive projects.
Besides “MAGNUS”, Felinskyy embodied here two more projects: together with Jezhy Hrodzinski a house for burials “Beth Tahara” at new Jewish cemetery (Zolota street) and in 1910 Grudli’s shop with the cimena “Grazhina” in Sapyega street (Bandera street). Unfortunately, these buildings has not come to our days.
Most architect’s ideas pertaining to the edifice of “MAGNUS” (1912-1913) were brought into life, but some of the plans have never been embodied. According to the schemes that were preserved, the building was a reinforced concrete skeleton covered in glass. The building with its forms passes far ahead of the architecture of the twentieth century. The building had five circles and four-axis front facing Shpytalna street. Both the fronts were formed using well-proportioned reinforced concrete columns, and there were fully glassed-in surfaces between them, huge shop windows in the ground floor and three plane windows in the remaining floors, so-called “Chicago-windows”. Two lower circles are separated by a wall which creates a wavy line above the windows and accentuates detachment of the ground floor of the building.
From the outside the edifice is devoid of any decoration if not to take into consideration the wrought by banisters parapet “Chicago windows” and lanterns on the columns above the second floor. Two passages from inside in the same circles were also separated by columns structurally created spatial planning, which become widely spread in European vanguard architecture only in the middle of the 20th of the 20th century.
Felinskyy did not take into account benefits and possibilities of big areas of the interior and divided it in each circle into a row of two-section boxes, divided by thin partitions. Entrances to the boxes were organized from the tunnel corridor. Each box contained a separate shop and consisted of a frontal room, deprived on direct natural lighting and so-called distant room, which was lit up through a big Chicago window. The ground floor was arranged in slightly different way, with entrances to the shops directly from the street, only two of them having additional passages to a lobby.
A lobby, which at present does not exist, used to contain of three parts, and its walls were decorated with small mirrors and stucco moulding. The place of location of three allegoric pictures by Felix Vygrzhyvalskyy, depicting Commerce and Industry, known from literature, still remains a mystery.
Through the double door of the lobby one could enter a small rectangular hall, which together formed a T-shaped figure. On the same axis with the lobby, adjacent to the hall, there was a staircase, situated in massive rhisalite of the back elevation. Three-sided double stairs (to the left and to the right correspondingly) with two central rising grounds and shafts were adjacent to it. There was an elevator in each shaft, and in was encircled by forged decorative gratings with the correspondent motives used in banister railing. Decorative gratings also had exits from the elevator on each floor and tiles with brass settings on the walls along the stairs.
Inner planning of the building was based on the traditions, particular for trading halls of the 19th century, but not a modern commodity house (this must have been an effect which was desirable for the investors). Nevertheless, modern construction and thin partitions allowed re-planning and freely enlarging the rooms quickly, up till the creation of a single spatial interior.
Was the planned project brought into life? Archival materials and present constructive elements of the buildings are the evidences of the positive answer. As a proof we can give the original rainwater drainage system from main fronts into the back part of the building, which was kept and is functioning up till now. Is lies in the principle of water flowing down the water-pipes on the roof edge into wooden gutters covered with metal-plate which are laid through the attic and is drained outside the building. Nevertheless, some R. Felinskyy’s ideas have never been realized. In this way, two additional floors were planned under the “broken” tiled roof. We can presume that these obligatory measures were stipulated by Austrian-Hungarian building legislation, which strictly regulated external dimensions of the building depending on the size of the city and class of the given street. Constructive elements of covering and roof, which were preserved, are evidence of the planned ground. In particular, this is central bow laying on top of wooden ceiling between metal H-sections, absence of bearing structure of the roof in central space of the attic, presence of metal spiral staircase etc. Nevertheless, not a single sign of any real floor hidden under the roof was preserved.
First serious modifications of the building were planned at the end of the 30th,, when local authorities wanted to move Directorate of Halician Treasure here from the Hetman Ramparts (right side of Svoboda Avenue, the building was not preserved). In accordance with newly found plans air heating system (gratings of which are preserved up till now) was replaced by a water system. At the same time rhisalite was connected with side elevations till the level of the second floor which caused a series of constructional modifications. Floor level in newly-formed rooms even today does not correspond to the height of the floors of the basic building. The majority of plumbing was moved into annexes. Basement was widened from the side of the yard in order to install boilers fro the new heating system.
Judging by newsreel shot by O. Dovzhenko’s cinema group, in September 1939 Soviet Union found this building in the process of reconstruction. In is difficult to say when exactly the scaffolding one can see in documental picture was removed and what was happening to the building since 1939 to the end of the Second World War, as most document at present are unavailable. Nevertheless, it is known that up till the second half of the 50th inner planning structure of the edifice remained practically unchanged. Only in the basement the reinforced concrete room looking like bunker appeared and, apparently, it was the depository of a bank situated on the ground floor of this building.
Most profound changes of inner planning structure of the building happened at the beginning of the 60th (approximately 1959-1961), when the building was reconstructed to become a Central Department Store.
A lobby on the ground floor and partitions between separate boxes on all the floors were liquidated exactly at that time. Annexes from the yard side were raised to the roof level. In the side wing in modern Danylyshyn street on the site of former sanitary arrangements there was a staircase arranged from the basement to the attic. Passenger and freight elevators were reconstructed. Exits from the freight elevators were moved from the side of the sales areas to the direction of the offices. A staircase between the ground and the first floor from the side of Horodotska street was arranged.
Judging by the available sources the first owners of the building which was built for Commodity House “Magnus” were engineer Skibniwski and doctor Frensel. It is likely that this commercial institution existed here up till the second half of the 30th. Activity of the Commodity House lied in renting trading areas to different trading operators for goods sales. That is why on the front of the building one could see advertisement of numerous trading companies known in Lviv, which joined under the roof of the Commodity House “Magnus”.
It is obvious that at the end of the 30th the building did not have a single owner and was to be nationalized. We can figure it our from the authorities’ intentions to move Directorate of Halician Treasure in 1938-1939. It is still a mystery whom the building belonged to during the Second World War.
As the documents of the middle of the 50th say, the building was used in many different ways. The following institutions were situated here: reception centre on receiving laundry and clothes for washing and dying (at the bathhouse No3 in 11 Shpytalna street), district committees of Red Cross in Shevchenkivskyy district, grocery store, district food market, district inspector of state insurance, executive committee of district councils of workers’ deputies of Shevchenkivskyy district with the departments – general department, financial department, trading department, department of health and popular schooling, social service department, department of communal housing and district housing administration, district civil registry office, apartment sector. Also at that time there was a branch bank of State bank in Shevchenkivskyy district. Since 1961 Central Department Store settled in this building, becoming one of the biggest stores in Western Ukraine.