We received two awards of the Association of Polish Architects!
On May 26th, during the ceremony at the seat of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP), results of the SARP Award of the Year and the Award for the Best Architectural Object Built Using Public Funds under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland competitions were announced. 46 submissions from all over Poland were
entered into the competitions. We are proud to inform you that the building of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews received the main award in both of these competitions. The jury’s explanation regarding its choice reads as follows: “The award was granted for the exceptional arrangement of the public building’s space. The building of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is not only a museum, but also a statue and a symbol. Architects incorporated these extra-functional aspects of the building into beautiful substance, in order to then give it grand form. The museum is shaped so that the external space runs through the building’s interior, and experiencing this incorporation becomes an architectural sensation for the visitor.”
The building of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was created as a result of an international architectural competition, organized by the Jewish Historical Institute Association in 2005. Out of over a hundred designs submitted for the competition, the work of the Finnish studio Lahdelma & Mahalmäki, whose Polish partner is the Kuryłowicz & Associates studio, was selected.
The main designer of the building is Rainer Mahlamäki, a professor at the Department of Architecture of the University of Oulu in Finland. Architecture is his profession, passion and way of life.
The outside of the museum building is toned and geometric, evoking the simple shape of the nearby monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto and the architecture of post-war buildings in Muranów. While on the inside, its cut across its entire length and height with an illuminated, sculptural space created by two waved walls. It’s an ambiguous and metaphoric architecture that tells the history of Jews on Polish lands - which was almost cut by the Holocaust and post-war repressions. At the same time the bright, open spaces of the building and materials used in its construction (wood, stone, copper and brass) reflect the phrase “the museum of life”, devoted to the 1,000 years of Jewish existence on Polish lands and not restricted to the subject of Holocaust.
The combination of these messages and functions was quite the challenge. No wonder that in 2008 the visionary design of the museum received the International Architecture Award, bestowed by the Chicago Athenaeum.
In 2013, the building of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews also received the prize in the Architectural Design of the Year category at the Eurobuild Awards competition. The Eurobuild Awards prize is awarded for the best design of a commercial or public building.