Antonello Calabrese, Umberto Elia Clerici • The bradyseism of memory.

Project for the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial among the urban fragments of ul. Waliców


The almost total destruction of Warsaw is the result of a project of extermination and cultural annihilation perpetrated systematically during the Second World War. The scenario produced by the Nazi urbicide at the end of the occupation - a scenario that evokes the end of history or perhaps the geological origin of the world - is a huge desert expanse, composed of the rubble of the northern district of Muranow and the ruins of Wola. At the end of 1944 what remains of Warsaw is a kind of mineral substrate with its dramatic orography of destruction, seemingly devoid of any historical traces of the city-capital that had consolidated at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Despite the reconstructions that have followed for seventy years on the trail of the destroyed Warsaw, it survives in the post-apocalyptic city, especially in the district of Mirow, a series of buildings that still resists the new scale imposed today from the incessant urban transformations taking place in the central area of the city. They are fragments of pre-war Warsaw that, despite their apparent fragility, testify to the city's disappearance and its history, unique in the historical context of the European city. The thesis project focuses on the possibility of reconnecting a small nucleus of these buildings to the current urban system, through the rediscovery of their roots to the archaeological traces of old Warsaw, still present underground city. In seeking a dialogue between the memorial and expressive charge of which these finds are bearers and the topicality, it is proposed to create the prototype of a possible extended museum of the present, to give back to the city its identity foundation. The project concerns, in particular, the memorial site of ul. Walicow, located in the south-west of the city in the center of the district of Mirow, which is characterized by the presence of some of the buildings of the so-called Small Ghetto, including the buildings "Osiedle za Zelazna Brama" that surround them. In particular, the undeveloped public areas to the north and southeast of the three buildings conceal the presence of an urban substructure composed of the remains of the missing city. The project aims to reactivate the historic buildings of ul. Walicow, now besieged by the presence of new buildings even of great height, reconnecting them to the last two remaining free areas existing to the contour and giving them new uses and meanings for the present through an overall operation museum. The new building of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial thus becomes the space hinge that ideally rejoins the three surviving buildings, of which the museum reuse and temporary residences are proposed, and the ruins of those hidden underground, through a Physical and conceptual archaeological excavation: in the body of Warsaw disappeared and at the same time in its identity as a regenerable European city only from its historical and memorial foundations.


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Images of the project