Cristiano Gerardi • WAS WAR SAW

A memorial for the removed Warsaw

 

Few fragments of Warsaw survived the nightmare of the war, bearing witness of the trauma of the destruction executed as a project of hatred by the Nazi. With the re-construction many precarious historic buildings were removed: following the principles of socialism, a completely different city emerged over the tabula rasa. Today high-rise investments are endangering the permanence of the traces of the past. The project of Waliców memorial reinstates in nowadays city three surviving buildings of the ghetto and a portion of the perimetrical wall of it. Around them, the ground opens to gradually reveal the ruins of the removed city. In order to put in evidence these witnesses on the multiform surroundings, a monumental lead casing box is lowered over the ruin on Waliców 14; the material is durable and ductile, it absorbs light and sound, retaining the traces of time. This act of contestation on the scale of context creates a respectful ambit to protect the unapproachable narration of the ruin. The mutilated body is hidden and framed by few openings which rivelate its presence and distance. Underneath the case a theatre spots towards the side brick-wall, which becomes a reverberating backdrop illuminated from above. A path moves in front, above — through the cover — and underneath the ruin, which remains separated from the visitor. On the hypogeal level a series of spaces hosts the Ringelblum archive. Spaces for contemporary art and public activities are implemented on the refurbished Waliców 10 and 12. The project is intended as a cultural lighthouse for Warsaw: an experiential circuit of reconnection with the history which sublimates the traumatic memory into new significance.

 

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Images of the project