CAA Conference has ended
Wednesday, March 28 • 2:00pm - 6:15pm
7 - An Architect in Contemporary Archaeology, Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk

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The historical space undergoes both natural destruction and creative transformation that reflects the needs and aims of contemporary people.

Due to the character of his profession an architect plays a vital role in analyzing the distant past and planning the future space. His technical knowledge allows him to understand the space structure and form, while the historical background - to locate the space against cultural and social events. The techniques used by a historian and an architecture researcher are very similar or even identical to an archaeologist's methodology.

However, by the end of the research process an architect starts to design a completely new spatial phenomenon that makes use of the material culture elements from the past. His participation in both documentation stages gives an architect specific insight into research methods and technologies, designer's technical expectations, and documentation compatibility in both fields of study.

Architecture and archaeology can be very close fields thanks to the use of innovative technologies and digitalization in the measurement and documentation processes, provided, however, they present similar levels of technical mastery, make use of similar vocabulary of concepts (graphic, too) and compatible computer systems.

We do not want to deal here with the documentation technology shared by an archaeologist and an architect, but rather with the possibility of using and adapting the research knowledge in the newly designed space. It is not so difficult to structurally keep this knowledge in a historical monument or its relics. However, if on object or space has been completely destroyed, the question is how to show this knowledge, e.g. in a museum's program for visitors.

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk project is an excellent training ground at both stages: research (historical and archaeological) and design works. The Museum is to be located in the historic Gdansk Main Town, in less than 150 m distance from the limits of the medieval city (10-13th c.) and the Teutonic Knights' fortress (14-15th c.). Until 1945 this area of 17.000 m2 was known as Wiadrownia (germ. Eimermacherhof) housing district. At the end of the Second World War it was completely demolished and has never been reconstructed.

The historical and archaeological research conducted since 2011 has revealed a complex process of dynamic changes in natural systems of two rivers, as well as numerous time horizons of historic colonization. All spatial phenomena continuously and cyclically disappear. Sometimes only few relics of them are kept, and sometimes they can be read only through their negatives or spatial context signalling their presence. Like the shadow world of people, communities, and cultures - the world not so distant in time, but so characteristic of Central and Eastern Europe.

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk is a daring project, not only with regard to its architectural design, but also to its internal structure and museum program that makes use of the most advanced concepts and technologies. The project aims determine the methods, techniques and organization of the archaeological research, as well as the methodology and scope of the documentation process. The Museum is planned to be opened on 1 September 2014 - the 75th anniversary of the war outbreak. Now the research and design teams are in the last stage of preparing the museum concept and program scenario that is going to be finished by September 2012.

In our paper we are going to present draft versions of the documentation and the museum exhibition regarding the location history rather than the global phenomenon of the Second World War.


Wednesday March 28, 2012 2:00pm - 6:15pm BST
Building 65, 1143 Streamed into room 1167

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