Polish (Poland)English (United Kingdom)
Museum of the Second World War
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INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL COMPETITION FOR THE CONCEPTUAL DESIGN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR MUSEUM IN GDAŃSK

The building is exploiting the spirit of the place – The City of Gdansk, its maritime tradition, the Motlawa and Radunia rivers around it and of course the symbolic presence of WWII on Westerplatte. It is a response to the impressive townscape of the Old City as memorizing wall along Radunia and as well in the key perspectives: rank of masts with Allies flags, with an open air exhibition having an impressive screen as a background. That is an entrance for the tourists walking along Motlawa promenade. War Watch Tower is the only vertical element in the horizontal dominant of the WWII Museum. The main entrance shapes the public square organizing crossroads of new developments. Each façade of the new Museum takes into consideration the existing and rising townscape and visual corridors.

We want a museum which looks like a war machine. That is why we integrated in our museum all the typical features of war architecture. The bulky volume and the old, grey color is an expression of what the Museum is about; the danger of war. The biggest part of hosting the permanent exhibition is one big hangar with neighboring stock and a delivery ramp.

The building speaks of the war machine: destroying both civilians and soldiers. Through the City and Waterfront Entrances visitors walk into the darkness, which is dominated by simple, brutal, monolithic forms. We come into the unknown world just as was the experience of soldiers going to war, or refugees arriving at the shelters and ocean-liners. The key message is anti-war. On the outside this is expressed by the changing images of carpet bombings, refugees, and ruins projected onto the eastern façade, as well as the War Watch Tower, which informs visitors and passersby about recent wars, their locations, and the number of victims.