CLADmag issue 1 2017

Page 12

CLAD People


National Museum and Dialogue Centre Przełomy, Szczecin, Poland

Many buildings nowadays look interesting, but when you analyse deeper, there’s nothing more than the form Robert Konieczny Principal KWK


obert Konieczny, the principal of Polish

“in an optimistic, poetic and imaginative way.”

architecture studio KWK Promes,

“We broke the rules for the project’s design

has described how he won the World

competition,” Konieczny told CLAD. “The site was

Architecture Festival’s 2016 Building

originally smaller, but after we got to know the

of the Year prize by creating a museum that

history of the place, we thought the whole square

doubles as a “city-forming” public space

and the building should be treated as one entity.

for the people of Szczecin, Poland.

“Pre-war the location was an urban quarter

The National Museum and Dialogue

and post-war it became a memorial square to

Centre Przełomy – which explores the city’s

remember 16 [anti-regime protesters] who were

history of Nazi occupation, resistance against

killed there in fights with militia in December

post-war Soviet communist authority, and

1970. Our idea was to bring together these two

eventual transition to democracy – sits largely

contradictory traditions. We created a hybrid

underground, with its roof forming part of the

which encloses the site like a quarter, while

city’s Solidarity Square. The concept was hailed by the festival’s competition jury, led by David

keeping the values of an open public space.” Konieczny studied at the Silesian

Chipperfield, as “a piece of topography as well

University of Technology in Gliwice.

as a museum” that addresses the city’s past

He launched KWK Promes in 1999


A PLACE TO GATHER KWK Promes decided to eliminate any barriers in the square, enhancing its potential as a meeting space. Smooth uplifts in the site were created to house the museum underneath, while enclosing the square from traffic and busy surrounding neighbourhoods. The concrete floor of the square, which is covered with rectangular tiles, was replicated on the slopes and the façade of the museum, creating the illusion of one continuous monolithic structure. “There are many buildings nowadays that look interesting, but when you analyse deeper, there’s nothing more than the form,” said Konieczny. “Our projects are always the consequence of a logical process, and the form is in a way secondary. This project connects various times and traditions and gives a lot of new possibilities to the city, thanks to the generous public space. “When the museum is closed, life on the square still goes on, due to the topography. It encourages people to ride a bike, skate


CLAD­mag 2017 ISSUE 1

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