Muzeum Wojska Polskiego by WXCA


Polish Design Season: young Warsaw architects WXCA have been awarded first prize in a competition to design a new Polish military museum.

Called Muzeum Wojska Polskiego, the masterplan will comprise a large square leading through to the museum's open-air lobby, an open air exhibition of military vehicles, and restaurants, cafes and clubs to attract more visitors.

Military planes are to be exhibited outdoors on an undulating landscape with armoured vehicles displayed in open-air trenches.

The building facade is covered in shutters allowing varying degrees of light to penetrate the interior.

Follow all our stories about Polish design this month in our special category. More details about Polish Design Season on Dezeen here.

Here are some more details from WXCA:


The project relates to the initial architectural and urban design of the Citadel. The museum building together with the cubic construction (open-air exposition under roof) is located in the area of the former barracks, which were destroyed during the World War II.

The architectural dominant is the reconstructed Guard square with its representative function. Thanks to the uniform floor surface, the square area is integrated with the museum lobby. The adjacent park is also a part of this composition.

Because the building and its surroundings were treated as a whole and not as separated places, the history of the Polish Army may be better presented.

A museum exhibit operates with items taken from their natural context. It emphasis on the intellectual message, operates with many details and text.

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An open-air exhibit gives possibility of bringing closer this missing context.

The movement in the landscape, perspective, texture of materials, weather conditions and the greenery makes the message more clear and emotional.

Seeing the army from many sides may also be observed in our project – we introduced to the Citadel's terrain functions not directly related to the museum, such as restaurants, cafes and clubs located on both sides of the entry zone.

Institutions such as the Polish Army Museum fight for the leisure time of potential visitors with shopping centres and thus, it is important to prepare an interesting and entertaining offer, which would attract families.

Individual development zones, that is the entry zone, the embankments – exhibit of cannons, the central zone with temporal exhibits, the left bastion with food services, the waves – exhibit of airplanes, the right bastion with the exhibit for children, the trenches – exhibit of armored vehicles, an amphitheater, the water exposure at the Execution Gate were all arranged along the communication route.

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The sightseeing tour is a sequence of changing landscapes, which consists of several layers: type of weapon, type of battlefield and emotions.

The architectural concept of the museum building itself was created on the basis of functional and spatial analysis of the area in which the object will be located.

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We designed a building which thanks to its simple form and subtle details will become one with the Citadel tissue, as another missing element in this cluttered by history urban puzzle.

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The building is designed of a cubic compact and modular construction.

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The facade of the building is a set of planes with varying degrees of shutter openings.

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Three degrees of shutter openings complete the architectural composition and reflect the functional setting of interiors.

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Our main principles when working on the functions of the building were clearance, simplicity and convenience.

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All rooms were designed in accordance with detailed competition guidelines.

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The floorage of the museum building is of approximately 51 320 m2.

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The design of the building is based on the exhibit module (the main function of the museum) of 60×25x5m dimensions.

The exhibit module of 1 500 m2 consists of the main hall, additional annexes, technical corridor and ancillary rooms.

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The sightseeing route leads in one direction, starting and ending in the main lobby.

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Scientific and administrative functions were separated from the sightseeing route, but still remain in good communication with other functions of the museum.

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We truly hope, that our design of the Museum located in the Warsaw Citadel will properly present rich and glorious history of the Polish Army.

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The design team members:

Zbigniew Wronski, Szczepan Wronski, Grzegorz Sławinski, Jan Jaworski, Kuba Kupikowski, Rafał Kłos, Anna Wójtowicz, Zuzanna Bujacz, Aleksander Honca


Posted on Monday October 12th 2009 at 2:19 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • münte

    yeah, a military museum….that´s what the world is missing



  • m

    I’m pleased with the number and quality of the drawings!

  • kalle

    Yeah, a dude whining on the internet… That’s what the world is missing.

  • Etienne

    poland should remember the war as times of suffering and pain – why the glorification of war and army?
    glorification of army and war comes mostly from inferiority complexes of nations – this, at least, lead the world into 2 world wars.
    so, what is it today? is it 1909 or 2009?!

    (otherwise a nice design)

  • Mat.

    amazing project!!

  • Crusty the Clown

    Is this a new trend? War and military museums? Theres a new WWII museum opening in New Orleans, another scheduled for Abu Dabi.

    This project attempts to glorify and fetishize war – is this the message we want to send to future generations? What a horribly retarded way to spend millions of euros!

  • Partick Bateman

    i didnt even know the Poles had an army!
    nice though, like it.

  • angry catalan

    @ Crusty the clown: today there’s a lot of frustration and those states that survived WW2 and thought they had learnt a lesson (or that they had just taught the world a lesson) aren’t doing all that great at all. People, and states, try to find value in what they have and to have other people to blame. War is going to be fashionable for a long time.

    As for the museum, it’s pretty laughable. Fascist-lite symmetries plus 00’s trendy “space age softness” – a ridiculous combination if there’s one.

  • curb

    kalle, thank you.

    nice project. massive yet elegant, really quite paralleled with militarism.

  • marek

    Well, how can one critize such a project without getting accused of arrogance towards Poland? Very difficult.

    “… will properly present rich and glorious history of the Polish Army.”

    Like Katyn, or when the polish army fought against their own people during the protests in 1981? The bits I know of the history are rather sad and certainly not glorious.

    “… restaurants, cafes and clubs to attract more visitors … to prepare an interesting and entertaining offer, which would attract families”

    Party like it’s 1939 – or what? I doubt this place will be about a serious examination of history.

  • Drex

    So many comments without even minimum knowledge about what all about in fact. What glorification of war? That army defends that county fore a thousand year. Its about heroic and honour but not every country have such bright history of their army. If you thing it’s glorifying of war you probably treating that subject from the perspective of not so creditable history of own country but it’s not out problem.

  • B

    @ Patrick- no comments man

  • Richie

    Impressively thorough presentation! If only all projects submitted here had this many drawings and diagrams made available.

  • LOW

    jets…. awesomness!

  • GTi

    Here is some news of the “heroism and honour” of war that needs to have a monument built for it:

    “Poland has woken up to the possibility that its troops in Afghanistan were involved in a war crime against defenseless civilians.

    Polish authorities have kept the flow of information under control, leaving the media the task of digging out the truth.

    In August separate Polish and U.S. patrols were struck by explosive devices. Polish reinforcements soon arrived and opened fire on a nearby village.

    The mortar attack on the village of Nangar Khel, close to the Afghan-Pakistani border, killed eight Afghani civilians and left three women crippled. A pregnant woman and a child were among the dead.”

  • Martin

    Who said anything about glorification? It is possible to honour the armed forces that have defended your country without gloryfying them in a nationalistic sense. And the criticisms laid at attempts to attract families – what is the point of a museum if it caters for only a small segment of the community? Families are no less valid an audience than you (I assume you don’t have a family from your comment). And if providing a nice cafe or interactive displays helps to attract a broad range of ‘less than serious’ real people then so be it.

    Also the whole symmetry equals facism argument is laughable. Get over it. Facism hijacked symmetry in architecture as it did so many other aspects of life. Its time democracy claimed it back!

    Now get back in your ivory towers :-)

  • …its amazing how uneducated the comments below are…people with absolutelty no understanding of what war and invasion on their homeland is or was. read a little of history without the censorship that the schools have brought to you.

    “Question of Honor” by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud just for a start and maybe you would understand how and why this topic is very delicate and so important…

    the musuem is for remembering….those who fought for the freedom of all but died only for their country…

    …great simple design to show how things get complicated due to political standpoints.

    hope more of these are built…

  • Matthias

    Humanity shouldn’t brag about wars. This said, war museums attest to the dark side of all of us. It’s just a fact.

    Amazing people died fighting for what they believed for.
    Poland has a rich history of wars, just like busy intersections have rich history of fatal accidents. Marek’s quoting Katyn (slaughter of Polish officers who became war prisoners) or 1981 (Martial Law in Poland) is a stunning display of his pathetic knowledge of history, which a museum like this is meant to cure.

    Poland’s golden age is long gone. Ever since, with minor shameful exceptions, the country would defend itself against disproportionally large enemy powers rather than be an aggressor (this includes the Nazis).

    And yes, the presentation is very good. Congrats.!

  • angry catalan

    @ Martin: don’t be silly. You’re missing the point totally – there was some extremely good modernist, asymmetrical, architecture in Fascist italy and Francoist Spain, some of which was made by fervent fascists (Terragni, Coderch, goes on.)

    What I mean is that it’s ridiculous – not dangerous nor fascist, just unintentionally funny – to make a war museum that resembles fascist architecture so openly. It’s not symmetry in itself – it’s the cheap tricks used to get “instant grandeur”, especially when there are politicians looking for the type of crass grandeur Fascism strieved for. It’s as laughable as France’s “progressist grandeur” (Miterrand-era glass palaces), but these French projects had a bit more dignity (which makes me hate them instead of laugh at them, actually.)

  • angry catalan

    oh, the “cheap grandeur” and the “oh we’re in the know” soft colours and sub-hightech geometries.

  • Etienne

    @ j.z.
    “the musuem is for remembering….those who fought for the freedom of all but died only for their country…”
    – you wouldn’t mind then Germany to have a museum of war and army, would you?… i mean, at least Germany could celebrate its victory over poland then, isn’t it?
    (thanks for postiong this comment – just feel annoyed by this neo-nationalist, who turn the defeat of their own nation into glorification….)
    Poland should be one of the first nations to set up a monument against war, much rather to celebrate it (learn this lesson from Germany).
    Anyway, i agree with the comment above: i didn’t know that Poland has an army at all…. (thanks again for posting, just hate this neo-nationalist posing/postings)

  • Mind blowing! So so good!

  • It’s beautiful design–but it raises a number of moral questions for me as an artist–for instance, how does one avoid the pitfalls of Leni Riefenstahl?

  • People are assuming alot of things.. Poland doesn’t have an army right? Give me a break. I don’t think any country should have an army, but that’s a different story. To talk about the architecture and urban scheme, I think it’s gorgeous..Fantastic renderings, drawings and everything really. Does put the machines and relics of war in a new light. BUt let’s remember those who served every country for the right reasons.. War isn’t fought for good reasons anymore these days. But then again, who is right?

  • NIA

    I like especially the top-view.

    looks like playing battleships…
    C4! direct hit – sunk.

  • marek

    “Amazing people died fighting for what they believed for.”

    No doubt about that – and they deserve monuments. Which already exist in Poland.

    “Marek’s quoting Katyn … is a stunning display of his pathetic knowledge of history”

    Exactly, I referred to the slaughter of polish officers by russian troops. I don’t see glory in that, something that needs to be celebrated. Same with the quick defeat by the german/russian troops in WWII (within a month), same with the events in 1981, or with sending troops to Afghanistan trying to be buddies with the americans.

    This project does not look like (and judging by the description) as a place for a thoughtful and balanced debate of the past and present. It looks male, big shouldered, monumental.

    I hope they prove me wrong and put at least a decent exhibition in there.

  • Kuba

    It’s a pity that so many uneducated and ignorant people comment on history of Polish Army. To me as a Pole it’s laughable. History of Poland is very tightly interwoven with history its army. So instead of writing half-truths showing the army in negative light (I suppose all armies except this one are innocent as a baby) please spend some time on Wikipedia.

    I’m not for glorifying war. I don’t intend to praise our military forces, or any others. I’m just ashamed of the level of this discussion.

    Should there be a new military museum in Warsaw? Should there be military museums? Should ther be museums at all?
    You can’t deny thare is war. It will go on for a long time, less in military way, more in economical an cultural way.
    War is a part of history, a very important and emotional one. More important than architecture, probably. Should it be denied a record? Can’t we learn from it?
    I think we can. It’s better to learn than to forget and repeat, right?
    Apart from this museum as every large investment stimulates the developement of its neighbourhood as well as economy and so on.

    We can argue if it is a good moment for the army to spend so much on it while being underfinanced. But how would you know such details, you didn’t know there was an army in the first place…

  • marek

    @Kuba: Which half-thruths are you referring to, please feel free to correct them.

  • Kuba

    I refer mostly to your (or another marek’s) comment. You presented facts without context, thus showing half of the truth.

    “… Like Katyn, or when the polish army fought against their own people during the protests in 1981? The bits I know of the history are rather sad and certainly not glorious. …”

    I don’t understand how Katyn contradicts “rich and glorious history of Polish Army”. Does glory equals victory? You didn’t mention as well that polish army was not really “polish” but directed by WRON (which is to say by ZSRR). Of course this is not a bright fact, I must admit, but needs to be given a background, don’t you think?
    Do this facts in your opinion say thare was no glory in the history of polish army?

    You also wrote:
    “Well, how can one critize such a project without getting accused of arrogance towards Poland? Very difficult. …”

    You made no real critique, except making assumption that non – museal functions will exclude historical message and studies. And again:
    “… It looks male, big shouldered, monumental. …”
    What kind of critique is this?
    The project is based on opposition, one should take it as a whole. The building and the exposition are devoted to meritorical part. The park is for emotional. You can find there not only monumental or what many labeled “fascist” zone (the main square, I guess symmetry=fascism), but there is children, fun zone, fear zone, contemplation zone, nightlife zone.
    This not only enriches the overall message but let’s such a place compete on the “leisure time” market.

    You didn’t support your initial statement. On the contrary, having read all comments i found none in the hurt-nationalism tone. Instead I found plenty, that not only ommit topic of the architectural form, but show complete ignorance.

    I’d like to know what “a place for a thoughtful and balanced debate of the past and present” looks like according to you, because I don’t see real “thoughtful and balanced debate” here.

  • nals

    haha, accusing people of half-truths and then citing wikipedia. way to legitimize your argument. anyways…great looking project, i’d love to visit. congrats.

  • Kuba

    nals: My knowledge is not based on Wikipedia. I’m not citing it as well. I just mention it as an accessible source of basic information for people that didn’t know Poland had an army.

    Last post.

  • marek

    Hola Kuba, finally we have a proper discussion here – I like that.

    “Do this facts in your opinion say thare was no glory in the history of polish army?”

    I have a problem with militarism in general that’s why terms like glory, heroism, pride, honour etc. in that context make me sick. They have been used too often for propaganda purposes. And somehow this project smells like it too, especially when you write …

    “but there is children, fun zone, fear zone, contemplation zone, nightlife zone”

    Children, fun, nightlife … Don’t you think it is inappropriate to connect those things with serious topics like army, war, deads? Is this place supposed to become a Disneyland for militarists?

    “Well, how can one critize such a project without getting accused of arrogance towards Poland?”

    Poland had to suffer a lot under its neighbours. And that’s why I understand the kind of “we need to defend ourselves attitude” – including praising the army with such a project. Critizism is often seen as arrogance or interference – therefore my introduction.

    “I’d like to know what “a place for a thoughtful and balanced debate of the past and present” looks like according to you”

    I am not an architect but how about getting rid of the entertainment section and making it less triumphant, big, monolithic, heavy?