Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski, courtesy of KWK Promes.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes – Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

WAF 2016KWK PromesRobert Konieczny won the Building of the Year Award at World Architecture Festival 2016 with the subterranean National Museum in Szczecin, Poland. The project creates an open concrete square for public engagement. The Polish studio aimed to create a continuity with the city’s XX century history and dialogue with the surrounding architecture.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

The new project takes the place of a former urban quarter that was destroyed by air raids in WWII when Szczecin was German. After the war when the city became Polish and a square that appeared where the quarter once raised. In 1970, clashes against the militia ended in blood. Since then, the square became a symbol of the fight for freedom.

Szczecin National Museum, Historical diagram - Image by KWK Promes.

Image by KWK Promes.

Our Szczecin National Museum is a urban-hybrid project that encloses the space as a quarter, keeping the values of an open public space” says Robert Konieczny to Archipanic.


RELATED STORIES: Read more about World Architecture Festival 2016 on Archipanic…

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

The former quarter is marked on the opposite corners by smooth uplifts of the square. One of them contains the National Museum. The other one works as a hill, protecting square from the busy street”.

Szczecin National Museum - Map by KWK Promes.

Image by by KWK Promes.

As a result, an amphitheatric space of the square was created. “To receive a monolithic character of the whole design, we attributed one material – concrete – to it, so on the material division of the square floor go in elevation”.

Szczecin National Museum - Photo by Jarosaw Syrek.

Szczecin National Museum – Photo by Jarosaw Syrek.

Rotating concrete panels at street level unveil the entrance of the museum. Stairway leads to the underground exhibition space.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes – Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.
Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes – Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.
Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes – Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

This idea came up when it turned out, that we would not design the exhibition space. We were afraid of some overwhelming scenography, which pretends to be the past, so that we wanted to cut off from it by this move”.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

However the authors of interior design asked us for consultation and, by then, a collaboration began. As a result, we reject scenography and replace it by art. At the same time historical museum became the museum of art”.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Jakub Certowicz.

Photo by Jakub Certowicz.

The sloping surface of the square encourages skateboarding, skating or sledding but also public events like open air concerts and summer cinema and annual ceremonies.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

Szczecin inhabitants understood, this is their square and now they are gathering there to celebrate as well to manifest and express their opinions”.

Protest @ Szczecin National Museum square - Photo by Daniel Dlewski.

Protest @ Szczecin National Museum square – Photo by Daniel Dlewski.

All photos: courtesy of KWK Promes Robert Konieczny.

Image by WAF Berlin 2016.

Image by WAF Berlin 2016.

Szczecin National Museum by KWK Promes - Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.

Photo by Juliusz Sokolowski.