museum of the history of polish jews by lahdelma & mahlamäki architects
museum of the history of polish jews by lahdelma & mahlamäki architects museum of the history of polish jews by lahdelma & mahlamäki architects
apr 18, 2013

museum of the history of polish jews by lahdelma & mahlamäki architects

the ‘museum of the history of polish jews’, designed by finnish firm lahdelma & mahlamäki architects in collaboration with local practice kurylowicz & assoc first began as a competition entry in 2005, and as of november 2014 is finally open to the public. the competition was won from amidst a panel of international participants that included studio daniel libeskind, kengo kuma, zvi hecker architects, peter eisenman, and david chipperfield.

the bulding’s glass façade
image © salminen (also main image)



the museum, titled ‘yum suf’ (‘sea of reeds’) is dedicated to the research and exhibition of the jewish heritage, education, and culture through a series of multi-functional programmatic elements in response to an increased public interest. the primary exhibition room is located under the main hall, with 5,000 square meters of open space loosely organized into different ambiances that aim to present the many facets that make up polish jewish culture and history.

facade of silk-printed glass louvers
image © salminen



the adjacent plaza that houses the ghetto uprising memorial became a fundamental starting point for the overall footprint of the concrete and steel structure, mirroring the proportions that led to a rectangular plan. the facade is a combination of vertical silk-printed glass louvers, expanses of curtain walls allowing views and sunlight into the building, and copper panels over their consequent seams. the most striking feature is the interior hall for which the project was titled.

(left) detail of the vertical glass louvers
(right) curtain wall detail
images © salminen



an enormous organic tunnel-like space, ‘pure and silent’, welcomes visitors to the museum and cuts through the orthogonal structure with its lightly textured concrete walls. soft gradient shadows and its constantly transforming sinuous nature finds roots in the old testament and at times abstractly references nature’s phenomena. as of november 2014, the core exhibition of the museum is open to the public.

interior hall connection with facade
image © salminen

image © salminen

entrance to exhibition space
image © salminen

undulating organic concrete walls of the main hall
image © salminen

detail of the main hall
image © markus wikar

image © markus wikar




project info:


project name: the museum of the history of polish jews
architects (firm): architects lahdelma & mahlamäki (finland) with local firm kuryłowicz & associates in warsaw
principal architects: finland/rainer mahlamäki with team riitta id ( – design phase), maritta kukkonen, miguel silva, jukka savolainen, markus wikar, mirja sillanpää -poland/stefan kuryłowicz (* passed), ewa kuryłowicz, paweł grodzicki (-design phase), marcin ferenc, tomasz kopec, michał gratkowski
structural engineering: arbo projekt, poland
hvac engineering: pol-con consulting, poland
contractor: polimex – mostostal sa, poland
character of space: museum consisting of exhibition spaces, auditorium and offices
client: city of warsaw and ministry of culture, poland
tenant: the museum of the history of polish jews
total floor area: 18,300 sqm
building area: 4,400 sqm
site area: 12,442 sqm
principal materials: silk printed glass, copper, concrete
principal structure: concrete, steel
location: warsaw, park area surrounded be streets anielewicza, zamenthofa, lewartowskiego and karmelicka (belonged to the former jewish district)
cost: 160 million pln (~39 million €, 48 million usd)


    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
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    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.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,538 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample