Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Gdansk Museum of World War II in Poland by Weathers Architect
April 10th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
The proposal for the Polish city’s WWII museum addresses the issues of the site as it pertains to local adjacencies (vehicular and pedestrian access, programmatic access, and views) as well as broader urban and climatic context that defines it, and which we intend to manipulated at a local level. Gdansk’s climatic context plays a decisive role in determining the activities and social interactions of its program; and since these conditions are no longer believed to be out of the reach of the architect’s design control, then these activities and social relationships built with and around the museum are open for redesign as well.
The project design is organized around two straightforward principles. The first is to create a central exhibition core, a “jewel box” that contains the permanent and temporary exhibition space, continuously accessible from all sides along a “loop lobby” that encircles it: the second is the location of the public programs associated with the museum’s urban context–conference, restaurant, hotel, library, and education facilites as well as an urban park–on the upper level rooftop, initiating a “new city floor” with views to the surrounding city, accessible year-round. Making these outdoor public spaces attractive to visitors regardless of season requires the design of a “climatic wash’ that can produce artificial micro-climates and extend seasonal activities throughout the year. This wash is made possible by harnessing the energy dumps that inevitably occur in a building of this scale (36,000 m²), which requires 900 m² of mechanical space and 11,000 m² of parking garage, both of which vent large amounts of heat and moisture, as well as the combined body heat of several thousand visitors a day. This climatically elastic and unique ‘new city floor’ is the resource for the museum and the city of Gdansk as a whole.
Upon exiting the elevators from the museum level, the “new city floor” opens up a new visual perspective of Gdansk. The lobby elevators at the north entrance access the library, which looks directly onto the park and garden with views to the city beyond. The ground of the park is covered primarily in brightly colored tiles, which move up seamlessly to become the facades of the public buildings and fade to the transparency of stained glass at their peaks. At night, these tiled windows glow from within and become beacons of light visible from the entire city. The system that collects, harnesses, and redeploys the building’s expelled energy is located underfoot, working underneath and through the mosaic to create the microclimates of the “new city floor”.
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