Architects: Pysall. Ruge Architekten, Bartlomiej Kisielewski
Location: Krakow, Poland
Project team: Justus Pysall, Peter Ruge, Bartlomiej Kisielewski, Katarzyna Ratajczak, Mateusz Rataj, Alicja Kepka-Guerrero
Project area: 4,504 sqm
Project year: 2005 – 2010
Photographs: Jens Willebrand
The Muzeum Lotnictwa is one of the largest museums of aviation in the world. It is located in historically pre-served buildings and hangars of the former historic airfield of Rakowice-Cyzyny in Cracow, the first airfield on polish terrain, build in 1912 for the air fleet no. 7 of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
In 2005 a competition was launched for the new main building – the first pan-European competition for archi-tects, after the accession of Poland to the EU, to be won and realised by a German architect.
The idea of flying, the spirit of the place, the structure of the historic airfield – the new building for the Museum of Aviation takes up these references intellectually and synthesises them into an expressive and emblematic structure. The old hangars set the modular scale for the footprint (60×60 m) and the height (12m) for the new building.
Developed from this modular scale – cut out and folded, as if made like a paper airplane, a large structure has arisen – triangular wings made of concrete and yet as light as a wind-vane or propeller. Size and orientation of the wings got developed out of three different functions. 4500sqm usable area on three floors is for disposition now. Intertwining spaces provide good orientation for the visitor.
Entering the building one has the choice to go into the education wing with a voluminous 3D-cinema or directly into the exhibition area with the planes. The wings are generously glazed, opening in all directions. The exhibi-tion thus links visually with the landscape around it and offers a view of the apron and the planes on display outdoors. The airplanes in the North wing seem by no means enclosed, but rather to have been placed in shelter, ready to roll out onto the runway at any time. The first floor is occupied with the conference room seating 150 people, a bibliotheca, a multimedia section and a restaurant with bar over viewing the exhibition.
The offices for administration are in the second floor offering views towards the park, into the exhibition or through bull’s eye windows onto the former airfield.
The new museum for aviation appears not as a “house” – it yields a subtle functionally expressive architectural sculpture.