The Palmiry Museum Place of Memory

The Palmiry Museum Place of Memory

PALMIRY, Kampinos National Park, Poland
Project Year
Konrad Szczodrak

The Palmiry Museum Place of Memory

WXCA as Architects

IDEA The Palmiry Museum Place of Memory is a museum area complying with the pine-birch forest surrounding the cemetery. The museum building is a part of the Kampinos National Park, separated with glass and steel walls, covered with a green roof.

The exhibition space lies among trees – witnesses of past tragedies.The ascetic form of the building and the severity of the used materials form a background for the exhibition inside.

LOCATION The Museum borders on an ecumenical cemetery – a mausoleum of the victims of the Nazi regime in the years 1939-1941, founded in 1948 according to the project of RomualdGrutt and EwaŚliwińska.

The building is adjusted to numerous outer conditions. The building's location responds to the layout of the cemetery, sustaining the legal requirements of the irregularly shaped lot. The aim was to blur the border between the forest and the museum area. The effect was achieved by leaving space for trees. The greenery of the Kampinos National Park fits the designed area development plan.

The object is located between the pedestrian alley, and the guest parking area on the south end. The separation of the sacrum and the profanum was achieved by designing a passage along the eastern façade, from the parking lot to the cemetery, between the steel museum front and the concrete resistance wall, holding the slope.

FORM AND FUNCTION The interior and the exterior of the building form a whole. The used materials are a background for the exhibition. The architecture is not supposed to interfere with the emotional message of the personal items belonging to the victims buried at the cemetery. A clear simple division of functions has been suggested inside the building.

The entrance to the building is located at the ending of the main alley from the cemetery. The visitor enters the glazed space of teh hall, with a reception and a cloakroom on the right, closed within a steel panel booth, so as not to restrict the inside cubature and the view from the outside.The end of the hall holds an education room and a corridor to the café, the restrooms, and the office area with a backstage.

The rectangular exposition space is separated with a reinforced concrete wall. In the direction of the cemetery the exhibition space opens with a wide glassing, directing the eye of the visitor to the three white crosses at the end. The glass patios include pines. The patios enlight the exhibition area, separating particular parts of the exposition, and organizing the direction of the visit.

MATERIALS,CONSTRUCTION The applied materials match the importance of the place and its location. The severity of the materials such as concrete, glass, the corten steel, complies with the surroundings of the Kampinos National Park, and the concrete rough crosses of the cemetery-mausoleum.

The building has been designed within a reinforced concrete-steel construct.The glass walls introduce the history of the place and nature, viewed from the outside they comply with the surroundings.The walls, fitted with the corten steel, change with time, the grey steel surface at the beginning covers with rust.The roof of the building is a green roof, constructed as a reversed terrace, covered with extensive, non-cultivation greenery. The greenery of the green roof has been discussed with the management of the National Park, not to disturb the local eco-system.

CONDITIONS Due to its location, the object was under numerous legal restrictions, it was necessary to get specific permits in the area of artefact protection, conservation, environment and fire protection. The distance from the outer walls to the forest line is smaller than 12 metres. It was necessary to ensure both fire protection for the users in case of a forest fire, and a secure exit in case of a fire inside the building.Such hazard was real with glass façades. A two-layer glass façade is used, with an inner fire-proof layer.It is an expensive solution. Outer glassing is also used for protection against vandalism. The security of the exhibits is ensured by various low-current systems. The entrance to the building holds a guard post, designed for access control.

INSTALLATION SOLUTIONS The museum facilities are suited for exhibits' needs, the user of the Warsaw Museum of History has stated the requirements for the exposition hall. The micro-climate inside is determined by the necessity to ensure adequate conditions for the artefacts. It was the basis for designing a wide ventilation system, with perfect temperature and humidity parameters.In order to restrict the energy absorption of the object, a green roof is used, preventing excessive heating during summer months. The number of windows in the exposition area is minimized. During winter seasons, the mass of the reinforced concrete walls will accumulate the heat of sunrays, and return it to the interior. To provide appropriate acoustic conditions, as well as for environment protection reasons, all technical devices are hidden in the roof, covered with steel bars.

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