Katyń Museum located beneath the Warsaw Citadel is the fruit of a special collaboration: its concept was conceived by artists, historians and landscape architects. In this week’s PACE X HYPEANDHYPER episode, we look into the results of this exciting project.
Katyń Museum tells the story of the mass murders committed by the Soviet army on the area, thus commemorating the victims. However, as opposed to traditional exhibitions, the museum fulfils its function by forming a symbolic space with its environment, where more emphasis is placed on remembrance than on observation.
The institution took some heat for this approach: many people criticize it for not being informative enough. However, the relatives of the victims wanted to have a memorial for a long time—the project is much more successful in this function.
There are no distinctive lines between the citadel, the landscape and the built elements. We are already visitors of the museum when we still think we are just walking around in the park. Visitors can access the interior space of the building through a symbolic forest, and from there, a narrow path directs them to the gunrest arcades where the plaques with the victims’ names are found.
Katyń Museum concentrates on transitions: the red concrete façades of the new buildings are the continuations of the old brick walls, while the buildings themselves are the extensions of the environment. The architects applied simple and modest architectural solutions both inside and out, thus providing a perfect environment for reflection and remembrance.
In our PACE X HYPEANDHYPER series, we showcase a prominent contemporary public building from the Central Eastern European region each week.