gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in poland

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in poland

NArchitekTURA has chosen a beautiful industrial waste material – gray sandstone slabs with countless irregular cuts – for the great synagogue memorial park in oświęcim, poland. the mosaic of forty gray sandstone slabs symbolizes the ruins of the now defunct great synagogue (1863-1939), and the paths of life of the multicultural community that once populated this place. the criss-crossing cut-in-stone lines on the slabs are not the result of the work of architects using latest technologies, but were in fact created quite by accident, which is what classifies them as industrial waste.gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in polandall images by piotr strycharski unless stated otherwise

 

 

almost a decade ago, I accidentally came across a beautiful industrial waste material – gray sandstone slabs with countless irregular cuts,’ says bartosz haduch, founder and lead architect of NArchitekTURA. ‘for many years I was looking for an adequate design opportunity to take advantage of this singular material. finally, I found the right project in the city of oświęcim, where it became the leitmotiv of the memorial park, symbolizing the ruins of the now defunct great synagogue (1863-1939) and the paths of life of the multicultural community that were once criss-crossing in this place.’gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA great synagogue memorial park in poland

 

 

the main element in the park is the irregularly-arranged mosaic of forty gray sandstone slabs, which echoes the remains of the former synagogue (particularly its floor, made of similar stone material). individual slabs form paths leading to other elements of the park: an outdoor exhibition module presenting the history of the synagogue, a ‘well’ with historical floor (planned in the next stage of the development), a shallow water pond, corten benches and a chandelier (which is a copy of an artifact found on site during archeological works).

 

‘dimensions, shapes and colors of these new forms are all associated not only with jewish tradition, but also with universal symbolism, legible for different confessions and cultures,’ notes haduch. ‘this new space has an open character allowing for different ways of using, commemorating and interpreting.’gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA great synagogue memorial park in poland

 

 

 the 120 x 220 cm gray sandstone slabs are decorated with a ‘frieze’ made up of countless grooves of varying depths. these cut-in-stone lines create a singular ‘relief’ that changes its appearance depending on the angle of sunlight and its intensity, or atmospheric conditions like rain or snow. this geometric pattern was created quite by accident, as these large slabs were used as bases for cutting smaller formats in the quarry, and no one had ever come up with the idea of using them in construction. classified as industrial waste, they were reused and brought back to life in the city of oświęcim, as a gesture of opposition to excessive exploitation of natural resources.

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA great synagogue memorial park in poland

 

 

references to the temple demolished 80 years ago take on various forms in the new memorial park. the outline of the former synagogue is marked by a narrow curb, separating the interior of the park from the dense greenery surrounding it. the park’s entrances are adapted to existing communication paths, additionally framing two local urban landmarks – the church of the assumption of the blessed virgin mary and the sanctuary of the blessed virgin mary, helper of christians. the new square opens up to the picturesque panorama of the embankments of the soła river.gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA great synagogue memorial park in poland

 

 

a seemingly abstract mosaic may also resemble the now defunct urban layout of a pre-war city – its streets, pavements and buildings,’ explains haduch. ‘this “cut-in-stone” history of oświęcim, the great synagogue and the ruins remaining after its destruction aims at preserving the memory of the past, with a warning message for the future, at the same time beautifully celebrating the present.’

 

‘who knows, maybe after a few hundred years time, this place will become a mysterious archaeological site? after all, throughout centuries, humanity has been learning about ancient times from illustrations and texts immortalized in stone. I often wonder how will be interpreted in the distant future the message hidden in forty pieces of the memorial park?,’ the NArchitekTURA founder concludes.

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in poland
gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in polandimage by bartosz haduch

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in polandimage by bartosz haduch

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in polandimage by bartosz haduch

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in polandimage by bartosz haduch

gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in poland gray sandstone slabs compose NArchitekTURA's great synagogue memorial park in poland

 

 

project info:

 

 

name: the great synagogue memorial park in oświęcim

architect: NArchitekTURA / bartosz haduch, łukasz marjański

collaborator: imaginga studio / magdalena poprawska

landscape architect: narchitektura / bartosz haduch

structural engineer: maria koczur

electrical design: robert haponik

client: auschwitz jewish center

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy

ARCHITECTURE IN POLAND (127)

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (41)

MEMORIALS AND MONUMENTS (34)

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5