Dezeen Magazine

National Museum in Szczecin named World Building of the Year 2016

A subterranean museum in Poland with a huge public space on its roof has won the title World Building of the Year 2016 at the World Architecture Festival.

The National Museum in Szczecin was designed by Polish architect Robert Konieczny, who leads a studio called KWK Promes.


The structure was built using one material: pre-cast concrete. Its sunken form ensures it doesn't block views of the neighbouring Philharmonic Hall – the iconic building that won the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2015.


The judging panel, chaired by architect David Chipperfield, said the project "enriches the city and the life of the city".

"This is a piece of topography as well as a museum," they said. "To go underground is to explore the memory and archaeology of the city, while above ground the public face of the building, including its undulating roof, and be interpreted and used in a variety of ways."

"This is a design which addresses the past in an optimistic, poetic and imaginative way."


The World Architecture Festival awards aim to showcase the best architecture of the last 12 months.

The museum was selected ahead of 16 other category winners announced on day one and day two of the festival, including MVRDV's glass-brick shop and a shiny silver building by Zaha Hadid Architects.


Last year the World Building of the Year award went to Ole Scheeren for The Interlace, a series of apartment blocks stacked diagonally across one another to frame terraces and gardens.

In an exclusive interview with Dezeen at the award ceremony, Eric Chang of Buro Ole Scheeren said the building was designed to build a sense of community.

Dezeen is media partner for both the World Architecture Festival and Inside, which concluded today at the Arena Berlin, in Germany.