The winners of the Remembrance and Future Foundation's "From Those -- You Saved" competition are expected to be announced sometime this month. As a quick refresher, the open competition is seeking the winning design for a commemorative monument that expresses gratitude to the Poles who rescued Jews during German occupation in WWII. The memorial project will be built in the Muranów district of Warsaw near the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
In the meantime, Stockholm-based Norell/Rodhe shared their proposal, "Nine Rooms". Visitors experiencing the open-air design are surrounded by concrete-block "rooms" as if they were standing inside a prewar-era home. The project is a visual ode to the Poles who risked their lives and welcomed sought-after Jews to hide in their homes.
"This project is a commemoration that honors the Poles who rescued Jews during the German occupation. With their lives at risk thousands of Poles opened their doors to Jews and hid them in their homes. The commemoration embodies this act of making space a nd offering it to someone. It features nine open-air rooms that appear to have been hollowed out from a single block of solid concrete. Each interconnected space has a scale that loosely brings to mind a room in a prewar home – perhaps in an apartment, house or cabin belonging to one of the rescuers. Their surrounding softly shaped walls gently embrace visitors and provide opportunities for conversation as well as c ontemplation. Together, these rooms form a commemor ation that consists of a series of public spaces that through their intimacy bring about a sense of community between local residents, museum visitors and tour groups."
"The commemoration consists of two parts: One open gathering space facing the park and one solid block facing the street. The block is hollowed out by nine smaller voids, all slightly rotated, as if they have been left in turmoil. Openings between rooms and to the surroundings are formed as the voids intersect each other and the perimeter of the block. These openings direct views to the Museum and other key monuments, as well as to the daily life in the street and the park. The delineating walls of each room are stepped in section so that they widen towards the sky. The rounded profiles of the walls invite visitors to sit down and rest, encouraging a moment of solitary reflection but also spontaneous dialogue. Overall, the nine rooms combine the familiarity of a domestic environment with an unsettling spatial experience that pays homage to the moral character of the rescuers."
"Nine Rooms enters a dialogue with the existing monu ments around the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews. It is positioned towards the south end of the museum park, right at the intersection of two perpendicular sightlines that connect the First Ghetto Heroes Monument and the Jan Karski Monument in the east with the Willy Brandt Monument in the west. It forms a new destination in the south corner of the site while simultaneously setting up relations to existing monuments across the park. When viewed from afar, it appears as a mass in the open space of the park, similar to the existing monuments. As visitors approach it, however, it reveals its interior voids that are offered to the public as a series of generous open spaces."
"An equally important relation that our commemoration cherishes is that to the City of Warsaw at large. Its open spaces and immediate vicinity to the Anielewicza Boulevard exposes it to the daily life of the Muranów neighborhood. People passing by on the street will make out its solid silhouettes behind the existing row of trees. Leaving the street, the foot path across the park leading towards the Willy Brandt Monument might first take visitors past the new monument, into the park and then onto a platform. Fronting the monument, this platform is spacious enough to hold large gatherings and events. Upon entering the nine rooms, the street becomes present again, as visitors will get multiple framed views back into the City. In this way, the Nine Rooms intertwine life in and around the park as well as the histories of its cur rent monuments, with the untold stories of the rescuers."
Project Design: Norell/Rodhe
Team: Daniel Norell, Einar Rodhe, Elinor Entel
Check out more of Norell/Rodhe's work on Bustler.
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