COMPETITION FOR A PROJECT OF THE WARSAW MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS IN POLAND - IDEA, AUTHORS, TASK, AND OUTCOME (Konkurs na projekt Muzeum Historii Zydów Polskich w Warszawie. Idea, twórcy, zadanie, wynik)
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The architectural competition for the Museum of the History of the Jews in Poland was held in two stages. The first, open stage encompassed entries of assorted architects together with their dossiers and with particular attention paid to existing museums. The documentation could also include reflections on the manner of understanding and interpreting the competition tasks. The first elimination selected 119 out of a total of 250 entries. Ultimately, 11 architects or teams were classified for the second stage: Daniel Libeskind - born in Poland, the author of the Jewish Museum in Berlin (1999); Peter Eisenman - American author of, i.a., the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts and the Library of Fine Arts at Ohio University (1989, 1993 the AIA awards); Kengo Kuma - awarded in, i.a. Italy (2001) for his project of the Stone Museum; Zvi Hecker - born in Poland - author of the Jewish school in Berlin and, first and foremost, the Palmach History Museum in Tel-Aviv; Lahdelma & Mahlamaki - Finnish designers (projects of the Forest Museum in Punkaharju (1994) and the Folk Arts Centre (1997) in Kaustinen); David Chipperfield - an English designer known for, i. a. the River & Rowing Museum in Henley (1998); Andrzej Bulanda and Wlodzimierz Mucha - two Polish designers i.a. of the BRE Bank in Bydgoszcz (1999) and the modernisation of the Old Paper Mill in Konstancin-Jeziorna for the purposes of a shopping centre; DDJM Co. Ltd. – Polish firm - designers of the Monument of the Belzec Death Camp, including a museum; Casanova+Hernandez Architects - Spanish winners of awards and distinctions, i.a. for the Canary Island Museum and the Tittot Artistic Glass Museum in Taipei; Weinmiller Architecten - German authors of, i.a., project of redesigning the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg (2002); Josep Lluis Mateo - MAP Architects - designers of the Contemporary Art Museum and auditorium in Castelo Branco (Portugal), and the St. Jordi University in Barcelona. The contestants were presented with the task of devising a conception of a building that would correspond to the functional requirements of its utilitarian programme. Particular attention was devoted to the possibility of arranging the main exhibition within the designed shape. At the same time, the proposed building, with its supreme architecture and an easily distinguishable and characteristic form, should become one of the Jewish symbols of contemporary Warsaw. First prize was presented to the Finnish team, and three distinctions went to: Kengo Kuma (Japan), Daniel Libeskind (USA) and Zvi Hecker (Germany). The Finnish project was recognised as the best due to its concise form, inner modular organisation, and definition of the dramatic public space surrounding the Monument of the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto. Special emphasis was placed on opening the interior onto the Monument and a park. The dramatically arched space with the texture of limestone, lit from above, is to symbolise the parting of the Red Sea - with all the associations relating to Polish-Jewish history.
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