Polish Museum of the Second World War

The architecture evolves in the time line of Polish and European history and its many generations of mutual interdependence. There is the devastation of being attacked; the evolving loss, imprisonment, extraordinary underground survival, fortitude to resist, ultimately victory for all people and a march to a new future.

The visitor first crosses the Voids of Loss, the naked flag poles of a courageous army, descends below grade to the entry and the internal Hall of Resistance. The visitor’s path is indirect participating in the story of Polish and European resistance through interactive exhibits and external voids inhabited by exhibition and story. The architecture and visitor then ascend as Poland emerges from a decimated Europe, struggling to rebuild, and evolving a new renaissance. The visitor can ascend the sloping upper terrace that starts at grade with the story of loss and ascends to a rebuilding of a new and democratic Poland. Overhead is a Canopy of Hope that is architectonically fragmentary, emblematic of a continuing rebuilding, the unfinished struggle for new, future aspirations, a reuniting and rebuilding of a more powerful Europe at peace.

As one ascends the upper terrace to peace and rebuilding there is the viewing Platform of Strength on axis to Westerplatte. The view of remembrance to Westerplatte is only then completed by the view of the present and to our common future. Yes there has been remarkable recovery, but this is also a reminder of the event that ignited a cataclysmic war that future generations should never forget. One again, a proud, new nation emerged, one that is ready to take its rightful place in Europe.

Design Principal:
Bartholomew Voorsanger, FAIA
Design Team:
Masayuki Sono, Martin Stigsgaard, Issei Suma, Anastasiya Konopitskaya, Radoslaw Krysztofiak, Peter Miller, Van Hsin-Hung Tsao, Michael DaCosta, Ronald Reed, Matthew Dierdorf