From a chalet to a luxury apartment building
Today’s Zakopane came into being thanks to a combination of two different economic factors — agricultural-pastoral settlement at the foot of Gubałówka (end of the 15th century) centring around the village green (located in the eastern part of Kościeliska Street and constituting the oldest part of the village of Zakopane), and industrial settlement in the mining and foundry village in today’s Kuźnice (around the mid-18th century). The two centres communicated via Krupówki, a street originally stretching from the junction of Kościeliska and Nowotarska Streets as far as the Huty Hamerskie ironworks. Thus the mixing of various economic interests in the Tatra Mountains was from the very beginning at the heart of Zakopane’s development.
Shepherds from the village of Niżne Podhale grazing their sheep in Tatra pastures built shacks and chalets. This was the beginning of folk architecture in the region. The first architectural forms different from the folk tradition were brought by miners and foundry workers probably as early as in the 17th century. Folk architecture acquired distinctive stylistic forms at the turn of the 19th century, and manorial and industrial architecture — in the early 19th century.
At the beginning of the 19th century the Tatra Mountains also attracted tourists, while Tatra climate began to be perceived as having therapeutic properties. Thus Zakopane became a tourist and health resort attracting growing numbers of tourists, holidaymakers and patients. This was conducive to the evolution of both tendencies in Zakopane — folk and then regional architecture (folk architecture from the Podhale region, Zakopane style, second Zakopane style, new regionalism and free functionalism, new Zakopane style and modern regionalism) were developing alongside a cosmopolitan trend (classicism, Swiss style, historicism and eclecticism, modernism and functionalism, socialist modernism and late modernism).
This early differentiation of architectural forms in the region has influenced the way Zakopane looks today and constitutes an ever-recurring dilemma both for planners formulating architectural guidelines to be followed in the designs, and for architects preparing documentation for buildings constructed in the town — a regional or universal architecture? This also applies to the problem of protecting historic buildings in Zakopane.