The Museum of World War II is famed for his internationally recognizable, audacious architectural vision. It’s also a suggestive icon that touches on deeply rooted historical heritage of Poland. The slope-shaped, rising dynamic form houses a museum. It’s a place that commemorates history and is a new symbol of the tragedy of the past, the vitality of the present, and the horizons of the future. The designers called it “a silent building”, being able to bring deep reflections to anyone who visits it.
The Museum of World War II was created in Gdansk, Poland, at Władysław Bartoszewski Square, near the historical centre of the city. From the west, it touches the Radunia Canal, and, from the south, it opens up to a wide panorama of the Motlawa River. Those outskirts of old Gdansk will soon become the centre of a modern district, located in the area of the former shipyard grounds. The museum is also located in the symbolic, architectural commemorative space – 200 meters from the historic Post Office building and 3 km (by sea) from the Westerplatte peninsula. The construction of the facility started in September 2012 and ended in March 2017. The total area of this eight-storey building reaches 58,000 square meters and the useful floor space is 23,000 square meters. The museum itself occupies an area of 1 700 square meters. The project was created by “Kwadrat” architectural studio in Gdynia, with Hochtief Polska and Warbud as general contractors.
The slope-shaped building
Matching the iconic panorama of Gdansk, filled with shipyard cranes and church towers, the structure blends the modern idea of the building with the historic background. The symbolic expression of the links with the past (the war, the present time and the future) is the spatial division of the museum into three zones: the past, hidden in the underground parts of the building, the present, that appears in the open square around the Museum, and the future, which is expressed by the dominant with a lookout point. Daniel Libeskind, one of the most famous architects and designer of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, spoke these words about the building: – Using the language of architecture, the selected project narrates the tragedy of the past, the vitality of the present, and opens the horizons of the future. The rising, dynamic form symbolizes the museum below, while giving a panoramic and spectacular orientation to the historic city and its future. Echoing the iconic skyline of Gdansk, with its shipyard cranes and church towers, the building ties together traditional urban spaces, scales, materials, and colours of the city with a 21st-century museum
The ground part of the building counts eight stories in the shape of a 40+ m high sloping tower, and resembles a trapezium-shaped prism (the largest slope of the wall is 56 degrees). One of the walls of the tower is fully glazed and the remaining ones are covered with a distinctive red lining. The tower houses a library, educational rooms, a café and a restaurant with panoramic view to the city.
The building has six underground floors, with 5,000 square meters permanent exhibition space located at a depth of 14 m, making it one of the largest exhibition rooms in the world. It is an innovative way to present World War II as seen through the eyes of great politicians and ordinary people. In addition to the permanent exhibition, there’s also approx. 1,000 square meters of temporary exhibition space. The whole is completed by the square surrounding the building, which is supposed to become a place for outdoor events.
ALUPROF in service of history
Museum of World War II uses special facades based on ALUPROF’s MB-SR60N system which are the basis for numerous facade constructions, the installation of the façade being an important element here. For this building, the facade was mounted on a steel tendon substructure – The structure is characterized by a large slope. Thanks to a specially developped fixing system, it was possible to compensate the perpendicular (11 mm) and parallel (7 mm) movements to the wall plane – explains Bożena Ryszka, Marketing Manager at ALUPROF.
The MB-SR60N facade aluminium profiles have a sufficient strength to allow the maximum amount of light streaming in from above. This solution gives a lot of possibilities in shaping spatial constructions: mullion/transom joint connectors are made in a way to allow for connections with a wide range of angles, thus allowing to use different shapes of panes – trapezoidal or triangular. In addition, the Building Research Institute, in his classification issued for MB-SR60N system has confirmed its very good performances: air permeability – class AE 1200 Pa, water resistance – class RE 1200 Pa and wind load resistance – 2800 Pa (safety test 4200 Pa).