Feniks Building is a historic tenement located on the Main Square, at the corner of St John Street. It was erected on the site of three mediaeval buildings which had been demolished in 1914. In one of them, a well-known mathematician and astronomer, Jan Śniadecki lived in the late 18th century. The tenement, along with its sister building on Basztowa Street was owned by the Feniks Insurance Company, operating before World War II.
Fourteen years had to pass before the demolished tenements were replaced by a shiny new building, a work of the architect Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz. Before World War I began, the site was designated to host a hotel, but the war thwarted the plans temporarily and it was only between 1928 and 1932 that a new edifice was erected.
The outbreak of World War I delayed the construction work and only the foundations were laid. The empty lot was enclosed with a high fence. In February 1918, the fence became a political newsletter after a fashion. It was covered with patriotic inscriptions and satirical drawings. Soldiers of Polish Legions were using the fence to attach orders received from the Austrian and Prussian commanders to it, as a form of protest.
In 1928, the Vienna Insurance Company “Feniks” asked architect Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz to design and construct a new building on the empty site.
Built between 1928 and 1932, the avant-garde and state-of-the-art building in the style of Art Deco proved to be controversial and aroused sharp protests from the conservators’ community. Only the personal intervention of President Ignacy Mościcki, a close friend of the architect, put an end to the murmurs of dissatisfaction.