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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland by Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki with APA Kuryłowicz & Associates

December 2nd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki with APA Kuryłowicz & Associates

An international architectural competition for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was organized in spring 2005. The first discussions regarding the plan to build such a museum had taken place ten years earlier. During those years it had become clear that there is a need for a dedicated museum as public interest towards Jewish history and culture had increased.


  • Architects: Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki with APA Kuryłowicz & Associates
  • Name of Project: The Museum of the History of Polish Jews
  • Location: Warsaw, Poland
  • Principal Architects: Rainer Mahlamäki with team Riitta Id, Maritta Kukkonen, Miguel Silva, Jukka Savolainen, Markus Wikar and Mirja Sillanpää in Finland and team Paweł Grodzicki (project leader), Marcin Ferenc, Michal Gratkowski and Tomasz Kopeć in Poland
  • Client: The City of Warsaw and Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland
  • Structural Engineering: Arbo projekt, Warsaw


  • Contractor: Not yet chosen (project is on tender phase)
  • Character of Space: museum, consist of exhibition space, auditorium and offices
  • Principal Occupation of the Consumer: not specified
  • Principal Age of the Consumer: all ages
  • Each Floor Area: differs from 1 120 to 6 500 m²
  • Total Floor Area: 18 360 m²
  • Building Area: 4 260 m²
  • Site Area: 12 442 m²
  • Principal Materials: silk printed glass, copper, concrete
  • Principal Structure: concrete
  • Cost: 55,7 million euro (€)



The selection of the participants of the architectural competition was based on expressions of interest. The finalists included 11 studios, including Studio Daniel Libeskind, Kengo Kuma & Associates, Zvi Hecker Architects, Peter Eisenman and David Chipperfield.

The proposal “Yum Suf”, “Sea of Reeds”, by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects was declared winner in summer 2005. The design process of the building continued until July 2008 when final design documents were released. The construction will commence later in 2008. The building is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.

Interior View

The museum will function as a multifunctional centre for the research and exhibition of Jewish heritage, education and culture.

The main permanent exhibition takes place under the main hall in a large exhibition space of 5000m2. Special built-in milieus will present the different aspects of the history of the Polish Jews. The main task of the exhibition is to present different phases and forms of Jewish culture starting from medieval times to present day – the holocaust is only one of the main themes of the exhibition.

Warsaw has been one of the most important cities for Jews; before the Second World War there were half a million Jewish inhabitants in the city.


Interior View

The site of the new museum is located in the Willy Brandt Park, one kilometre from the old city centre of Warsaw, which was rebuilt after the war. The history of the park is tragic as it was part of the Jewish ghetto during the war.

Adjacent to the new museum is the memorial of the uprising in the Jewish ghetto. The memorial has been an important element in the architecture of the museum. The proportions of the plaza in front of the memorial and the museum have been carefully considered. The shape of the museum building is rectangular. The facades will be covered with glass and copper panels.


Scale model 01

The name of the building symbolically refers to the architecture of the main hall. The inspiration for the space has been the legends of the Old Testament, although at the same time forms of the hall refer to the universal and abstract phenomena of nature. The main hall is the most important element in the architecture of the building; a pure and silent space introducing the museum to the visitors. The groundbreaking ceremony of the Museum was held on site in Warsaw the 26th of June, 2007.


Sketch 01

Scale model 02

Sketch 02

Site Plan

Ground floor

First floor

Exhibition floor

Second floor

Third floor

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