Site of the Polish History Museum

The construction of the building that is going to house the Polish History Museum continues on the grounds of the Warsaw Citadel.

Below we present a drone-made film that documents the progress of the works (as of June 2022):

The PHM was founded on 2 May 2006. Since its very inception, the Museum initiated both works related to the creation of its home and permanent exhibition on the one hand, and its regular exhibition, educational and research activities, as well as those promoting Poland’s historical heritage abroad (showcasing key themes in the country’s history related to the Polish statehood and nation) on the other hand. In 2009, the Polish History Museum announced an international architecture competition regarding the location of the Museum above the Łazienkowska Thoroughfare near the Ujazdowski Castle. The winner was the Paczowski et Fritsch office of Luxembourg.

The decision to finance the construction was halted in 2010, and the Museum was removed from the list of priority projects to be implemented using EU funds.

In the spring of 2015, negotiations began regarding the new seat of the Museum in the Warsaw Citadel. On 29 January 2016, in the presence of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Piotr Gliński, the contract was signed regarding the design of the building of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw. The signatories were PHM Director Robert Kostro and the head of the architecture office WXCA Szczepan Wroński. Less than a year later, visualisations of the PHM’s permanent seat were available. On 6 October 2017, a tender was announced regarding the construction of the Museum. On 15 May 2018, it was announced that the winner was the company Budimex S.A. (Inc.)

The Museum will be located on the grounds of the Warsaw Citadel (known as Independence Park). The site will also house the already existing Tenth Pavilion Museum and Katyń Museum, as well as a new seat of the Polish Army Museum.

The building was designed by the WXCA architects, who won the competition for an architectural concept of the Polish Army Museum compound (at the Warsaw Citadel) in 2009. The design was adjusted to the needs of the Polish History Museum.

The area of over 30 hectares will also have a recreation and leisure area for the residents. A two-level parking lot for employees and visitors has been designed, as well as parking places for coaches.

The new museums will stand around the central square: with two pavilions of the Polish Army Museum on the northern and southern side and the Polish History Museum in the centre to the east. The space of the PHM building will be around 44,000 square meters, including 8,000 sq. m for storerooms and conservation workshops of the Polish Army Museum.

Key parameters of the Polish History Museum building:

Exact name of the structure: POLISH HISTORY MUSEUM
Location: 13, Dymińska Street, grounds of the Warsaw Citadel, Żoliborz, Warsaw

  • surface area: 44,700 m (including 8,000 sq. m. for storerooms and conservation studios of the Polish Army Museum)
  • number of aboveground storeys - 4; underground storeys – 2
  • number of underground parking spaces: 322 out of 697 (the total for all the museums)
  • permanent exhibition area – 7,300 sq. m.
  • temporary exhibition area - 1,400 sq. m.
  • auditorium capacity: approx. 600 persons
  • cinema capacity: approx. 150 persons

Here is a film that documents placing the roof on the Polish History Museum building using a unique Demag caterpillar crane brought on several dozen lorries and lifting pieces weighing up to 600 tonnes:

The architecture of the PHM building is a purposely built narrative. Written in stone and in contemporary form, it is a narration of the layers of history building up one upon another, of discovery, of uncovering the various meanings of the past, of openness and freedom, the Museum’s motto. In its visual expression, the stone solid refers to the various consecutive layers that constitute history. In the consecutive layers, as if in an archaeological cross-section one can notice the traces of human action, of historical events, of different epochs. The individual form (‘personality’) of each slab, their formation, composition and ornamental transformations make up an intricate tissue that expresses both the individual and the collective dimensions of history, the overlapping of the natural and cultural processes, the formation and the eradication of memory. This recording of time in history continues.

The spatial openings of the ‘time solid’ on the exhibition floor and at the ground level, are continued as a network of interconnected spaces within; they materialize the idea of openness, of the Museum’s friendliness, the process of discovery, immersion in time, the multidimensional view of history, the freedom of choice of the path of cognition and of the formation of one’s own narration. The glass openings in the building's facades will also serve as a means of communication about the current activities that fill the different parts of the Museum. One of the most important instrument forming the atmosphere within the building is light, both the natural light that pours in by the openings in the structure's surface and the artificial lighting that penetrates the spaces inside and merges them into a single view.

The Polish History Museum will be one of the most advanced currently under construction in Poland and in Europe; we expect at least 500,000 visitors a year. The Museum will become a place to enter into multidimensional contact with Polish history and a place of reflection, as well as learning and contact with culture, and a centre of social life. Apart from the exhibition spaces, the Museum will also offer rooms for educational activities and workshops, auditoriums, and rooms for screenings, food and drink facilities, as well as conservation workshops and museum storerooms.

Investor: Polish History Museum

Designed by: WXCA sp. z. o. o. (llc)

Collaboration:
Construction and sanitary, electric and ICT installations: WSP
Green design: RS Architektura Krajobrazu

Architectural design 2016–2017

General contractor: Budimex S.A.

Here is a film showing the assembly of roof girders in the PHM building:

Calendar

  • 2 May 2006 – the PHM foundation act is signed by Minister of Culture and National Heritage Kazimierz Ujazdowski
  • 2008 - Warsaw city authorities propose locating the PHM above the Łazienkowska Thoroughfare, near the Ujazdowski Castle
  • 2009 – the Luxemburg firm Paczowski  et Fritsch Architects wins an international architectural design competition
  • 2011 – the consortium WWAA/Platige Image, designers of the highly acclaimed Polish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, win a competition for the design of the permanent exhibition
  • 2013 – the PHM Council and the Association of Friends of the PHM issue an open letter on the construction of the Polish History Museum building to the Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski signed by many prominent figures in the arts, historians, politicians and directors of leading cultural and other institutions
  • 2014 – the PHM Council issues a Resolution on the Construction of the Permanent Seat of the Museum and its Financing in which the Council members (Prof. Wojciech Roszkowski, Prof. Andrzej Friszke, Prof. Rafał Habielski, Prof. Andrzej Paczkowski, Prof. Andrzej Rottermund, Prof. Henryk Samsonowicz, Prof. Wojciech Tygielski, and Prof. Zofia Zielińska) urge the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Małgorzata Omilanowska to make decisions concerning the Museum without delay
  • March 2015 – preliminary arrangements are made on the construction of the Museum at the Warsaw Citadel
  • 21 July 2015 – the Polish Government passes a resolution to establish a financial program for the Polish History Museum
  • November 2015 – Prof. Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage in the Government of the Prime Minister Beata Szydło, declares the construction of the Polish History Museum as one of the priorities for the historical policy pursued by the Government; he also assures that the completion of the construction work for the centenary of the establishment of the Republic of Poland as his Ministry’s priority
  • November 2015 – negotiations between the PHM and the WXCA architecture office begin
  • December 2015 – Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Piotr Gliński and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz agree to collaborate in matters related to the construction of the Polish History Museum and the Polish Army Museum at the Citadel
  • 2016 – the Government increases funds for the PHM in the 2016 budget
  • 29 January 2016 – in the presence of Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Piotr Gliński, the contract for the construction of the PHM’s permanent seat at the Citadel is signed by PHM Director Robert Kostro and Szczepan Wroński, President of the WXCA architecture office
  • 7 November 2016 – design and visualisations of the PHM’s future permanent seat are presented at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
  • 6 October 2017 – an international tender is announced for the construction of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw
  • 31 January 2018 – bids are made public in the tender procedure for the General Contractor to build of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw
  • 15 May 2018 - the tender procedure for the General Contractor to build of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw is completed, with Budimex S.A. as the winner
  • 30 May 2018 – a contract is signed at the Palace of the Commonwealth between Budimex S.A. and the Polish History Museum concerning the construction of the PHM permanent seat, an event attended by Deputy PM and Minister of Culture Prof. Piotr Gliński, Deputy Minister of Culture Jarosław Sellin and the Deputy Minister of National Defence Wojciech Skurkiewicz
  • 6 July 2018 - the sod-turning ceremony marking the beginning of the construction of the PHM seat takes place on the grounds of the Warsaw Citadel
  • 11 October 2018 – the cornerstone for the Polish History Museum is laid at the Warsaw Citadel, a ceremony during which the erection act is also signed, attended by the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Deputy PM and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Piotr Gliński

The subject matter and objectives of the operation of the Polish History Museum under construction

1) creating an attractive exhibition space and a centre stimulating reflection on Polish history;

2) performing activities in education, dissemination, promotion, publishing, bursary awarding, as well as co-organisation and co-financing of projects related to Polish history and culture delivered by other institutions;

3) conducting research on Polish history, and
4) promoting Polish historical heritage abroad

 

Background photo: the construction of the seat of the Polish History Museum at the Warsaw Citadel, a view from a drone, June 2022, by PHM/Michał Janiszewski