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2007 | 48 | 123-146

Article title

THE COMPETITION FOR THE MODERN ART MUSEUM IN WARSAW. EXPECTATIONS AND VERDICT (Konkus na Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie. Oczekiwania i werdykt)


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We have been waiting for a Modern Arty Museum in Warsaw for the past fifty years, ever since the magnificent project of an expansion of the 'Zacheta' Gallery proposed by O. Hansen, L. Tomaszewski and S. Zamecznik in 1958. In March 2005 the President of Warsaw and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage signed a Letter concerning the construction of the Museum. A Museum director and Programme Council were appointed for the duration of the construction work. A discussion asking 'What Sort of a Museum'? was inaugurated in numerous periodicals, including 'Aspiracje', published by the Academy of Fine Arts. The initial premise was a museum of users and processes and not visitors and objects. An international competition for the museum's architectural conception was announced at the beginning of 2006. Out of a total of 109 proposed designs, three were awarded and 12 were distinguished, including a single honorary distinction and one special distinction. A plan for the surrounding of the Palace of Culture exerted a great impact on the competitors and the opinions of the international jury. The views expressed by the jury were divided. The best assessed (first and third prize as well as the distinctions) were Swiss minimalist works, including the winning project by Christian Kerez. In turn, a major part of the distinguished works was composed of projects aspiring to the rank of 'icons'. Among them the best one (special distinction) was a Finnish-Polish work proposing an expressive sculpted form. The awarded Polish project could be placed within the current of pop art. Outside the range of the distinguished works we come across interesting neo- and late-modernistic projects. Noteworthy interior design projects include conceptions, which placed the trade functions on the ground floor, the educational ones - on the first floor, and the exhibition ones - on the top stories of the building. Such solutions were suggested by the Swiss projects (first prize and distinction). An organization of the inner space around a central hall was suggested by, i. a. the winner of the third prize. Many projects (including the winner of the second prize) accepted as the functional and spatial skeleton of the interior the principle of inner passages and streets. Despite the competition guidelines relatively few projects implemented the recommendation to arrange a roof garden and exposition. Just as few (including the winner of the second prze and a special distinction) linked the space of the square in front of the Museum with the Northern Park. Some of the members of the jury regarded the outcome of the Warsaw competition to be highly controversial. The minimalist-winning project by Ch. Kerez was contrasted with the expressive Finnish-Polish design, which aspired to the rank of an 'icon' but violated the ascertainment of the plan and the programme premises. The Warsaw municipal authorities and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage decided to choose the project proposed by Ch. Kerez.







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  • Andrzej Kicinski, no data


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