Design by Studio Architektoniczne Kwadrat chosen for Museum of the Second World War
Polish firm Studio Architektoniczne Kwadrat has been officially announced as the winner of an international design competition for the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk, Poland. Beating off competition from 240 firms in 33 countries, Studio Architektoniczne Kwadrat’s design was selected for its ‘minimalist means of architectural expression’ and ability to ‘gracefully blend the modern idea of the building with the historic background’.
A panel of nine key architectural figures chaired by Wieslaw Bielawski met over a period of three days to examine the plethora of entries, awarding first prize (and €80,000) to Studio Architektoniczne Kwadrat, second prize to Piotr Płaskowicki & Partnerzy Architekci and third prize to BETAPLAN S.A.
The symbolic elements of the winning design seemed to sit well with the esteemed jury panel, which included architects George Ferguson, Wiesław Gruszkowski and Daniel Libeskind. Justification notes released on the decision praise the image of the museum ‘rising symbolically from the ground’ and the ways in which the design ‘links the ground – its gloom, chill, and imprint of the past, with the skies – hope, freshness, and future’.
At approximately 15,000 sq m the Museum of the Second World War is a colossal space, with the entrance zone alone – complete with entrance hall, shop, restaurant, children’s play room and cinema hall – totalling nearly 2,500 sq m. The museum will also house a library, multimedia reading room and a specialised reading room for those with impaired sight and hearing. A range of seminar and educational facilities are scattered throughout the complex, including a studio enabling the recording of radio and television programmes.
Studio Architektoniczne Kwadrat’s bold thrusting design is a rust-toned vision of clean lines and textures. Sunken into the Motława embankment, the glass and metal structure offers an array of sharp edges and basic geometric forms. Within this sculptural propulsion, the jury saw ‘a symbol of catastrophe and the surviving hope’.
However, one can’t help but note similarities between Studio Architektoniczne Kwadrat’s winning design and the work of a certain Polish-American juror…