One of the most interesting architectural designs for a cultural facility in the world – this is how international media described the Mausoleum of the Martyrdom of Polish Villages in Michniów. Currently, thorough construction and exhibition assembly works are underway in the Mausoleum designed by Nizio Design International architectural studio. The studio provides the project author’s supervision over the implementation of the works and Mirosław Nizio oversees the activities related to scenography and graphic design of the exhibition.
In 2009, the design prepared by Nizio Design International won the first prize in the competition organised by the Kielce Countryside Museum. The design assumed the creation of specific conditions for commemorating the victims of the Michniów pacification of July 12, 1943. Michniów is a village that became the symbol of all the pacifications and repressions that occurred in Polish villages during World War II and the occupation period. The architects’ aim was to combine the functional programme of the architecture with expressive sculptural form and symbolic meaning of the museum-memorial.
The form of the building designed by Mirosław Nizio and his team is a combination of sculptural inspirations and the wish for unity between the architecture that is being designed and the historical narration. The unique monolithic body of the building of the Mausoleum in Michniów consists of 11 segments, 5 of which are closed and 6 – open; they are severely cracked, which gives the object a touch of dramatic flair. The segments, one by one, become more and more deformed and disintegrated. The expressive architecture and intentional, progressive degradation of the successive elements of the structure symbolise escalation of repressions against villagers during war. The light reaches the interior of the building through the cracks between individual segments; it shapes the exhibition space, depending on the time of the day and the season.
The core exhibition of the Mausoleum of the Martyrdom of Polish Villages in Michniów will cover the area of 1,700 m2 and will depict the successive stages of pacification. A team of graphic designers led by Mirosław Nizio are currently working on this part of the exhibition. The attention of the chief designer is simultaneously focused on supervising the construction works and preparing substantive content of the exhibition, as well as on designing the elements of scenography that will be supplemented by this content. Concrete, wood and hot-rolled black steel will dominate in the interior.
The materials will also serve as a medium conveying the content, enhancing the narration of the exhibition. Their texture, colours and scent will affect the senses of the visitors. The concrete surface will feature an applied wood impression. Some of the interior concrete walls will serve i.a. as a screen for displaying multimedia projections. Large, irregular sculptural objects finished with wood reclaimed from old cottages and barns will be an interesting element of the exhibition.
Blackened, burnt and impregnated wood has a specific, characteristic scent which will fill the interior. In the following stage, some of the objects are planned to be covered with sheets of imprinted black steel which will constitute a part of the museum narration. The imprints will present the history of the pacification. Furnishings, such as the altar and pews, are being made in the chapel of the Mausoleum. Additionally, 270 m2 of space will be devoted for temporary exhibitions to be presented in the building.
Nizio Design International architectural studio is the chief designer of the Mausoleum. A team of architects supervised by Mirosław Nizio is responsible for the design of the architecture and the interiors as well as for land development – in the conceptual, construction and implementation phases. The team also oversees the works under the project from the beginning until the completion. The design for the Mausoleum in Michniów was honoured with the European Property Awards prize in the Public Service Architecture category.