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.
Memorial to the Polish Airmen Who Fell in World War II in Warsaw, Poland by Mark Dziewulski Architect
October 5th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Mark Dziewulski Architect
This is the national memorial to the Polish airmen who gave their lives during the Second World War. The monument is set in a prominent location in Pole Mokotowskie, a park in centralWarsawthat has special historical significance as the location of the first airfield of the Polish Air Force. Many of the pilots took off on combat missions from this very site.
The design of the memorial was conceived from ideas and emotions that were conveyed by surviving pilots and also takes its inspiration fromPoland’s history. The sculptural forms convey the youthful spirit and energy possessed by those young pilots who flew for their country. The memorial is intended to be uplifting and optimistic, expressing the pilots’ inspiring passion for freedom, their courage and their faith in their eventual success. The memorial also reflects the sense of independent identity and passionate defence of freedom demonstrated by the Poles throughout their long history.
A gently curving wall of solid granite, engraved with the names of the fallen and their campaigns, is elevated on a platform, which is shaped in plan like the aerofoil section of an aircraft wing – the profile that makes flight possible. The use of a mound has its origins in ancient burial mounds or barrows. In contrast to the heavy wall, a dynamic stainless steel sculpture climbs and soars into the sky. The sculpture is an abstract representation depicting the dynamic movement of flight. Its shape evokes different images for each viewer.
Some describe it as the vapour trails of fighter aircraft involved in air combat, twisting and turning around each other. Others see the actual moving forms of aircraft, blurred as if in motion. Technically, the sculpture is a dramatic feat of engineering, pushing the materials to their structural limits. The rear of the wall is planted with climbing English Ivy, since many of the pilots made their last flights from England.
If the wall symbolizes the solidity of the earth, the sculpture represents the freedom of flight and the soaring human spirit, breaking free from the worldly realm. The curving energy of the sculpture is reflected in the parabolic silhouette of the wall, joining together the two basic themes: the fallen airmen and their heroic fight.
The memorial also serves functional requirements by providing a suitable setting for large remembrance ceremonies. It also creates a sense of place, a tranquil setting with special meaning, for contemplation of those who gave their lives and the historical events. It has already been put to use for full scale public events and it was unveiled in a spectacular ceremony attended by the President of Poland, military representatives of all the NATO countries and foreign dignitaries from all over the world. It was covered by the international press and the entire event broadcast on live television.
As an Architect I have worked on many buildings in different countries around the world, however, working on the memorial was a truly unique and personal experience. I have had the opportunity to collaborate on the design with my father, who was himself a fighter pilot in the Polish Air Force during World War II. It was an invaluable experience to gain insight from his memories as well having the privilege of meeting other surviving pilots and listening to their stories. I feel honoured to have been involved with this important endeavour.
Contact Mark Dziewulski Architect