DIALOGUE CENTRE PRZEŁOMY, POLAND

An architecture graduate from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Robert Konieczny established his architectural studio PWK Promes in the year 1999. With an illustrious career in the field of architecture, Robert Konieczny has been nominated an amazing 12 times for the Mies van der Rohe Prize for his magnificent design creations.

The Proud Moment: Sir David Chipperfield with Robert Konieczny at the 2016 WAF/ Courtesy: WAF

In the year 2006, Konieczny his Aatrial House project received the ‘Necessary House of the Year Award’ for the ‘Best Residential House in the World’. A year later his architectural studio KWK Promes made it to the ’44 Best Young Architects in the World’ list of the ‘Scalae Publishing House’. ‘Aatrial House’ and the ‘Hidden House’ were ranked among the best buildings in the world by the International Jury of the Museum of Architecture and Design in Chicago in the year 2008.

The National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przelomy

Szczecin was a German city before the Second World War. The location of the ‘present’ museum used to be a urban quarter. Due to air raids during the war, a quarter was destroyed completely. After the Second World War, Szczecin became a Polish city. Accidentally, an empty square appeared in the place of a former quarter.

Monolithic Character of the Whole Design

December ’70 was marked with a bloody clashes against the militia with tragic results of 16 fatalities at the square. The deadly happenings at the square went onto become a symbol of the fight for freedom. This is commemorated by a monument at the square. This is how the idea of a museum of the latest history of Szczecin at the square was conceived.

Museum Entrance Level

Robert Konieczny revealed, “A Philharmonic Hall to be designed by Estudio Barozzi Veiga was meant to be built on the opposite side of the street. Even then, we concluded that this new building would become the new icon of the city, so we decided to step aside to the second plan with our museum design.”

History of Polish Fight for Freedom

Konieczny created the design in such a magnificent manner that the building brought together two contradictory traditions – pre-war urban quarter and post-war  square. A brilliant blend of an urban hybrid was created. It encloses the space as a quarter and simultaneously, keeps the values of an open public space.

Entrance to the National Museum

Robert Konieczny explains, “We needed some foreground in front of the Philharmonic Hall and the Church, so that we stayed there on the level of existing square. The former quarter is marked on the opposite corners by smooth uplifts of the square. One of them contains a museum and another one works as a hill, protecting square from the busy street. 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.

Ideation

“The competition site did not included the whole square. So, we decided to break it to give to the city an added value – a space, which gives brand new opportunities. Outline of the museum came from the competition site. The ground floor is mainly the entrance zone and the underground level became the exhibition space,” added the architect.

The Display Zone

“Stairway – the exhibition space is the border between the two worlds, due to the blackness of the whole underground level. The idea came up during the realization, 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,” reveals Konieczny.

Spectacular Landscape View

KWK Promes pushed through a smooth flooring in spite the ban. Ultimately, the huge space became the perfect place for riding and encouraged sporting activities like skateboarding, skating or sledding. This idea was a welcome move, because while the museum is closed, life still goes on the square with various activities of the public.

Sectional View

The square has preserved its symbolic character and the perfect place for annual ceremonies. City authorities began to use sloping surface of the square for open air concerts and summer cinema. Szczecin locals understood that this is their square. Now, they are gathering here to celebrate, as well as to manifest and express their opinions.

Designed to Perfection

A proud Polish son, Robert Konieczny was awarded the ‘Europe 40 under 40’ in the year 2008 by the ‘European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies’ and the ‘Chicago Athenaeum’ for his amazing works in the field of architecture.

A Night View of the Square

Three years later, Konieczny was honoured with the ‘Annual Award of the Minister of Culture’ for his outstanding achievements in the field of architecture. He became the second architect in the history to be honoured with the prestigious award. In the year 2012, Konieczny became an independent expert of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation.

Sectional View

In the year 2006, Konieczny his Aatrial House project received the ‘Necessary House of the Year Award’ for the ‘Best Residential House in the World’. A year later his architectural studio KWK Promes made it to the ’44 Best Young Architects in the World’ list of the ‘Scalae Publishing House’. ‘Aatrial House’ and the ‘Hidden House’ were ranked among the best buildings in the world by the International Jury of the Museum of Architecture and Design in Chicago in the year 2008.

The National Museum of Szczecin

Konieczny’s ‘Safe House’ was one among the finalists at the 2009 World Architecture Festival Awards. He has been credited to design one of the most innovative buildings in the world and went onto qualify at the finals with his ‘OUTrialny House’ at the 2009 LEAF Awards.

At the 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards, Robert Konieczny’s extraordinary design creation of the National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Center Upheavalswas won the prestigious ‘World Building of the Year 2016’ award. The spectacular Museum went onto win the ‘European Prize for Urban Public Space’ in the same year.

Image Courtesy: KWK Promes

Photographer: Juliusz Sokolowski

Feature Image Courtesy: Jarosêaw Syrek

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