Katyn Museum designed by BBGK Architekci in Warsaw is the last stop on our virtual tour of the five finalists shortlisted for the EU Mies Award 2017. In previous weeks we have looked at Ely Court by Alison Brooks Architects (London), deFlat Kleiburg by NL Architects + XVW architectuur, (Amsterdam), Kannikegården by Lundgaard & Tranberg (Ribe), and Rivesaltes Memorial Museum by architect Rudy Ricciotti.
Following a design competition held by Muzeum Wojska Polskiego, BBGK Architekci was appointed to design a memorial to the victims of the massacre in Katyn forest, 21,768 Polish soldiers and civilians killed by the Soviet secret police in 1940.
The memorial/museum, opened in 2015, serves the twin functions of preserving memory of one of the greatest and most tragic massacres in European history and acting as a container for documents and testimony collected and recovered over the years.
It was built in the southern part of the Warsaw Citadel, a fortress built by Czar Nicholas I in 1831. The entrance on Nowomiejska Gate leads to the park, the evocative first part of the route, a forest symbolically recalling Katyn. The museum exhibition and adjacent spaces are contained in the Kaponiere (caponier) and a second building consisting of five glassed-in arches containing 15 commemorative plaques bearing the victims’ names.