Finnish firm Lahdelma & Mahlamaki Architects, in collaboration Kurylowicz & Associates, has designed the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Located on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto, the 138,000 square-foot museum stands as a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews who died during World War II. The museum celebrated a partial opening in April, with a complete unveiling scheduled for next year.
Lahdelma & Mahlamaki clad the exteriors in vertical silk-printed glass louvers accented with copper paneling, allowing sunlight to illuminate interiors. A sprayed concrete crack forms the main entrance. Inside, a canyon-like curved passageway runs through the orthogonal structure, and with the undulating concrete walls, mimics the parting of the Red Sea, or “Yam Suf.” Using traditional tools and techniques, 400 experts and volunteers worked to recreate a replica roof a 17th-century synagogue. Colorful paintings of mythical animals, flowers, and bunches of grapes adorn the ceiling.
In addition to temporary and permanent exhibition space, the museum features an education center, a restaurant, and conference room.