Museum of Fire

Architect OVO Grabczewscy Architekci
Location Żory, Poland
Sector Cultural

The story of Museum of Fire started when we were asked to design exposition pavilion that should promote the city of Żory and to showcase its offerings to newcomers, tourists, partners and investors as well. The pavilion was to be situated with prominence on an exposed site near the main access road to the city. The plot had a lot of disadvantages, especially a great number of underground infrastructure that left only very strange, irregular shaped piece of land to build on. We were not able for a long time to come up with any reasonable solution. We started to study again and again the commission. We were seeking for the crucial factor that should define the design – the main idea.

The name of the city – Żory means “fire”, ”burnt”, “flames”. In XII century, when Żory was founded, forest was burnt in order to create free space for the new city. This tradition is still alive – there is a Festival of Fire in summer, and the logo of the city is a small Flame. It became obvious to us, that a building should look like a fire. The strange shape on the plot suddenly started to resemble dancing flames. The idea started to crystallize. The building consists of three independent walls that “swim” next to each other. Their composition and shapes covered with copper plates resemble dancing flames. Copper is covered with HDP layer in order to avoid patina and keep fiery appearance. Spaces between the walls are fully glazed forming entrances to the pavilion. Walls are made of architectural concrete, covered on the outside with copper and left untouched inside. The floor is paved with black stone, and continued to the outdoor elements.

During the construction, when the ground was excavated, our client came with an idea to use the underground space to place a big exhibition hall there. That’s how we came up with the idea that the whole building should become the Museum of Fire. Finally the building has three entrances. There is a multifunctional hall and reception/information on the ground floor and an exhibition hall underground with a multimedia show and exhibits devoted to the phenomena of fire. With restrooms and technical rooms the program is complete. Intensive landscaping is surrounding the Museum. The building and the landscape work together create a symbiosis of space consisting of Museum itself, pedestrian paths running through the pavilion and green walkways. There is a Garden of Fire foreseen - an outdoor exhibition space along the country road nr 81 that will be used during Festival of Fire.

The copper exterior cladding is coated with a special transparent finish that stops the copper from weathering. This implies that the "fiery" deep copper aesthetic will stay.

More info on the website of the architect OVO Grąbczewscy Architekci

Photography: Tomasz Zakrzewski / archifolio

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