Wroclaw Museum of Contemporary Art

Project type: Museum


Location: Wroclaw, Poland


Time: 2008


The Contemporary Museum will be the first museum in this city’s history built specifically and exclusively to service artistic endeavor. This proposal avoids the temptation to create an architecture defined by complete newness and difference to the existing urban fabric. This city’s presence as global capital of artistic production and thought necessitates the inclusion and respect for the past; therefore, this project seeks to establish harmony between a rich creative history and the desire to project the city’s artistic energy into new terrain. Most importantly, the museum must exist not only as the traditional repository for artistic work, but also as a catalyst for the production of new work.


To succeed, the museum must accept and amplify the population’s interaction with it, as well as the innumerable contextual influences converging upon it. Consequently, the museum is conceptualized as a hybrid entity, both in terms of the generation of the design and the way in which the museum operates. The project presents itself as a hybrid of the existing and the new primarily in its geometry and distribution of program. The massing of the building embraces the existing conditions as well as position of the park and neighboring buildings by smoothly rising from the expansive horizontal condition of the park to the verticality of the city. The geometry of the museum becomes increasingly rigid, man-made and unique in appearance as building height increases, culminating in vibrancy at the Northwest quadrant of the site.


The strategy behind establishing programmatic adjacencies is centered firstly upon avoiding an overly linear arrangement of exhibition space, sidestepping the possibility that a visitor would identify any point within the museum as definite beginning or end. The visitor’s experience of the museum takes the form of a derive, a condition that consequently allows the visitor to forge a more personal relationship with the artistic process in conjunction with the work exhibited. The exhibition of art becomes similar to the experience of the city, experientially lifelike, and more embedded within the psyche of each occupant.