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  • Grand Canyon in a Glass Box

    The Jewish Historical Museum, Warsaw

    Architects: Lahdelma & Mahlamäki
    Text and photos: Rudolf Klein

    Fotó: Klein Rudolf

    Inaugurated recently, the museum of Jewish history in Warsaw was designed by a Finnish architect, Rainer Mahlamäki. It faces the monument erected in 1948 to honour the ghetto revolt of 1943, joining it to make an integral spiritual – and to some extent also formal – unity on the site of the former ghetto, in the fabric of Warsaw made up of mainly social-realist buildings. The heart of the architectural concept is an elongated „passage”, which on the one hand does not embrace the exhibition itself, whilst on the other hand does not stand alone as it has been wrapped in a glass box. This organic creation of irregular forms is evoked by the section of the longitudinal square also on the southern and northern glass facades. This space is joined by the individual exhibition rooms and auditoriums via bridges as well as by offices. According to the official brochure introducing the museum this „passage” symbolizes the Shoah which had been passable only to a few.

    Design: Lahdelma & Mahlamäki
    Fellow architects: Kuryłowicz & Associates, Warsaw
    Architects: Rainer Mahlamäki, Maritta Kukkonen, Miguel Silva, Jukka Savolainen, Markus Wikar, Mirja Sillanpää, Stefan Kuryłowicz, Ewa Kuryłowicz, Paweł Grodzicki, Marcin Ferenc, Tomasz Kopec, Michał Gratkowski
    Structure: Arbo Projekt
    HVAC engineering: Pol-con Consulting
    Main contractor: Polimex – Mostostal
    Client: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Poland