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Warsaw New Museum of Modern Art

Project Author(s)

SLIK Architects
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Project Info

Completion: 2008
Country: Poland
Type: Competition Entry
Category: Public Buildings

Project Text

Situation: Over the past decade, the city centre of Warsaw has shown an impressive growth; the city’s modern business infrastructure has developed at an accelerated pace. This process has created a strong background to the Palace of Culture and Science, which is predominantly defined by generic corporate architecture. The concept for a museum of contemporary art as a new counterpart to the growing business and commercial districts offers the chance to establish a missing link between the historic and the post-communist city centre.


Regarding the surroundings of the Palace of Culture and Science, the scheme defined by the local development plan, which follows rather rigid principles of urban design, seems to be an appropriate policy. Particularly the vast dimensions of the area facing ul.Marszalkowska ask for pragmatic means to rearrange and structure the former Plac Defilad according to an overall scheme that introduces a manageable scale both for the park area and the future public square, which will face the main entrance of the Palace.


Design Concept: A challenging debate on developing a strong building as a hotspot for contemporary culture within a rigid overall design scheme led to the proposal No. 300743 for the new Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. It is designed and structured according to two main principles:


Pragmatic vs. Specific: Reacting to the rigid building envelope defined by the structure plan, the introduction of a large courtyard establishes an interesting dichotomy between the outside form of the building and its interior appearance. The extension of the public space to the inside of the structure creates a transition between a rather pragmatic urban space and the specific interior of the museum.


Programmatic Layering: Arranging the supplementary services on the ground floor, the museum’s main entrance floor is lifted to a pedestal that is accessible from two sides of the building. On this main lobby level, all publicly accessible functions of the building can be found, accentuating the notion of public space on the inside of the building. The concept of pragmatic layering of the program is continued upwards, adding an administrative floor and the main gallery level.


Lukas Kueng, Ramias Steinemann, Steffen Lemmerzahl.

In collaboration with:

  • Proplaning Architekten und Generalplaner AG, Basel, Kosten-/Terminplanung
  • Prof. Jürg Stäuble, Künstlerisches Konzept Fassade
  • 4d AG, Landschaftsarchitekten BSLA, Bern, Umgebungskonzept
  • dsp Ingenieure und Planer AG, Greifensee, Statikkonzept
  • TGP Todt Gmür und Partner AG, HLKS-Konzept


52.229676 21.012229 warsaw