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Hit or miss?New museum sparks controversy


Now that the scaffolding has been removed and the building is in its final form, the future home of the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art is facing a wave of criticism after months of secretive reveals of its exterior.

Photo: Kevin Demaria

“I never thought I’d miss the Palace of Culture,” wrote one. Meanwhile, others have likened its blocky shape to an above-ground bunker.

At a time when Poland’s public spaces come under increasing scrutiny for their inhumane excesses of concrete, museums are heralded in some areas as setting new standards of catastrophic ugliness. increase.

Designed by American architect Thomas Pfeiffer, the white cube-like building was meant to fit seamlessly into its surroundings while referencing the capital’s modernist architectural heritage.

Simple yet monumental in its size, the building is currently the subject of intense debate. According to its proponents, the imposing structure will reabsorb this previously empty section into the fabric of the city.

Photo: Kevin Demaria

Meanwhile, museum management remains defiant.

“In designing the museum’s new headquarters, we employed elements of modernist architecture, such as simplicity of materials and ergonomics, while building a framework within which social life could thrive,” they say.

Continuing, they add: “The building creates conditions suitable for individual contemplation while remaining open to the needs of a large number of visitors. , foyers and staircases will be decorated with works of art.”

However, not everyone is convinced, and the building has already spawned many derisive memes.

Others urge patience, pointing out that this may not be the first time Warsaw has been scandalized by architects and artists. A decade or so ago, Daniel Libeskind’s Zwota 44 tower received a similar scorn for not matching the architect’s renderings.

Over time, people realized that it had become an iconic part of the Warsaw skyline.

Photo: Kevin Demaria

Similarly, Joanna Rajkowska’s palm tree installation in the Ronde de Gaulle shocked the Warsaw people and then captured the hearts of the locals.

After Plac Pięciu Rogów’s disappointing debut last summer (which itself is now only gaining gradual acclaim), all eyes are now on Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art.

As City Hall makes a lot of noise about its ambitious plans to transform the city center, their vision faces an ever-greater test of public acceptance.

Photo: Kevin Demaria

And yet, despite all the existing negativity, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw has already almost unwittingly fulfilled its obligation to get people talking. It is sure to become a Class A attraction, highlighting the city’s capacity for astonishing shock and awe.





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