Publicly Accessible Buildings

What lies beneath...

Landscaped meadowland conceals underground exhibition venue at Royal Lazienki Museum in Warsaw

by Sian 21 November 2013 Urban design
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    A team of Mecanoo, Michael van Gessel, Delva Landscape Architects and Jojko Nawrocki Architekci has been announced as the winner of a competition to design a Twenty-First-Century Garden with Integrated Exhibition Pavilion at the Royal Lazienki Museum in Warsaw. The competition was posted by WAN's Business Information Service (view brief).

    The museum is home to an abundance of 18th and 19th century buildings including the Royal Baths, a Roman-inspired theatre and a water tower, and with backing from the relevant cultural authorities the institution is looking to create a landscaped garden to be used for local environmental education, with 1,800 sq m of exhibition space beneath.

    Winning the competition was a concept that looks to snake meadows around the existing buildings, interrupted at two points to provide access to a below-ground exhibition pavilion. The 2.5 hectare garden will be part of the wider Lazienki Park and provide an example of 21st century landscape architecture.

    Interspersed by meadowland grasses and foliage will be several oculi, drawing natural light into the exhibition space below and tying links between the two spaces, exterior and interior. Below this grassy rooftop will be a public exhibition pavilion, complete with central hall, two major exhibition spaces and two smaller areas of modular lay-out. These spaces will be used for large-scale temporary exhibitions when the project completes in 2020.

    The competition jury gave the following reasons for their selection:

    1. The design for the garden - a meadow, with a raised platform giving the garden its unique appearance. The edge of the garden terrace along the Chinese Alley emphasises its main function
    2. The design for the pavilion, which is located entirely under the garden. The functional visitor management solutions, the exhibition space, as well as its compactness and flexibility
    3. The good connections between the designed garden and views looking onto the landscaped meadows from the north
    4. Appropriate proposals for using environmentally-friendly technologies supplemented with passive methods, as well as suggestions for using recyclable materials


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