Architecture and space

Muzeum Śląskie

Muzeum Śląskie’s new venue in the former ‘Katowice’ mine was opened to the public in June 2015. The priority of this project was to revitalize 2.7 ha of a post-industrial site of the former ‘Katowice’ mine, by providing the main museum venue and converting former mining facilities into museum buildings and creating attractive park space. The architectural concept by the Austrian studio, Riegler Riewe Architekten of Graz, highlights the post-industrial history of Silesia and the original use of the former mining site, as it avoids over-interference with the post-industrial landscape. After all, most of the complex is hidden underground.

The only structures protruding above the surface of the ground are the glazed administrative and foyer buildings and six glass boxes that provide extra light to the exhibitions underground. Thanks to the right proportions, the buildings are in perfect harmony with the pre-existing mining facilities. The underground section comes with a three-story car park with 232 parking places, an auditorium for 320 visitors, a library, educational and conference halls and an impressive exhibition space, a central hall that is 12.5 m high. The exhibition space at the new venue of Muzeum Śląskie covers a total of 6000 m2. The complex also includes the former machine room of the Warszawa shaft, converted into a two-story restaurant, and a former clothing storehouse, today’s building of Centrum Scenografii Polskiej, a division of Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice. The latter presents a collection of theatre and film set design that is unique nationwide.
Muzeum Śląskie’s unique attraction is the 40-metre observation tower of the former mineshaft. Its lift now brings visitors to the top platform for them to enjoy magnificent views of the park and the city of Katowice. Muzeum Śląskie’s permanent exhibitions cover 1400 exhibits within six themed galleries, including Polish art of 1800-1945, Polish art from 1945 to the present, Polish theatre and film set design, Silesian non-professional art, religious art and an exhibition on the history of Upper Silesia.

The primary goal behind creating the new venue of Muzeum Śląskie was to increase the competitive edge of Katowice’s urban space by developing its cultural facilities. This has contributed to raising the region’s investment and tourist allure. Along with the International Congress Centre, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Spodek, Muzeum Śląskie’s new venue is part of the unique Culture Zone. All of the newly opened buildings have been awarded a number of prizes for their unique design.

Project name: “Building a new venue of Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice”
Beneficiary: Muzeum Śląskie in Katowice
Period of implementation: 2007-2015
Total value of the project: PLN 262,238,555.71
Value of the co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the Regional Operational Programme for the Region of Silesia 2007-2013: PLN 178,191,438.68 (85% of the eligible costs)
Co-financing from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage within the framework of the Promesa programme: PLN 2,262,393.00
Own contribution of the Region of Silesia: PLN 81,784,724.03 (15% of the eligible costs and non-eligible costs)

“Regional Operational Programme for the Region of Silesia – a real answer to real needs”
Project co-funded by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund under the Regional Operational Programme for the Region of Silesia 2007-2013 and by funds of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

Other buildings – further regeneration

The opening of the Muzeum Śląskie’s venue at the former mining site is not the end of the spatial transformation in the heart of Silesia’s capital city. The old mining buildings, witnesses to the local history, are being transformed before our eyes. Stage 2 of the project, regenerating the land and buildings of the former ‘Katowice’ mine, is in the final phase. The project is to revitalize and convert historical buildings of the former mine (the main baths and a carpentry workshop) into museum buildings, as well as develop the surrounding areas. One of its outcomes is an underground car park for passenger cars and buses with a total floor area of ca. 1.3 ha.

The main idea behind the project is to preserve the cultural heritage of Upper Silesia by converting the two historical buildings and conserving industrial machines to be exhibited in the former carpentry workshop. The project will also provide additional equipment to the Digitization Office of Muzeum Śląskie to facilitate documentation of cultural history and producing digital records of the most valuable, unique museum collections.

The entire project, including its previous stage – construction of the new museum venue – is a unique blend of modernity (a complex of underground and aboveground buildings) and tradition (the old mining buildings converted to support the museum), in terms of design, visual, functional and semantic aspects alike. The shift from industrial use to cultural use of the revitalized space – conversion of the ex-mining site into the Culture Zone – symbolically reflects the social and economic changes that Upper Silesia has undergone since 1989. This manifests the aspiration to further science and culture, a mission defined by the strategies of the region of Silesia.

The implementation of the multi-dimensional project was supported by the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), an independent non-profit institution committed to preserving and managing cultural heritage in a sustainable fashion.

The project has been implemented between 2014 and 2017 under the programme “Preservation and revitalization of cultural heritage” funded by EEA and Norway Grants 2009-2014, as well as national funds from the budget of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Region of Silesia and the City of Katowice.

The project has been supported by the EEA and Norway Grants, originating from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and national funds.

Muzeum Śląskie: a research and support centre for other institutions

By procuring additional equipment for Muzeum Śląskie’s Digitization Office, a body committed to producing digital records of unique Museum collections, we will be able to add photographic records of religious architecture and architectural systems to our 3D photography documentation. Additionally, over 1,500 exhibits related to art, history, photography, archeology and ethnology have been digitized using both 2D and 3D techniques as part of this project.

Furthermore, additional equipment that will be provided to the Archeology, Ethnology and History Departments to be based at ul. T. Dobrowolskiego will let us enlarge our field research projects on Silesia and its ethnic minorities.

New space – new exhibitions

Alluding to Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture, the revitalized former carpentry workshop brings exhibition, educational and entertainment uses together. Its ground floor is dedicated to educational, theatre and art projects, as well as concerts and screenings of travel and ethnographic films. The permanent ground-floor exhibition “In search of Tomek” highlights Alfred Szklarski’s novels and lets visitors experience an exciting journey in the footsteps of Tomek Wilmowski. Visitors will try to unravel the mystery behind Tomek’s disappearance, encounter great traditions of distant cultures and develop their creativity and ingenuity.

The main baths building is going to house the museum departments previously based at al. Korfantego. In this way, not only will the History, Archeology and Ethnology Departments have professional offices and research facilities, but they will be also provided with temporary exhibition space. Fitted with relevant technical facilities, the exhibition space also meets requirements for organizing major concerts and events. The development of the departments based in the main baths and their special equipment will also allow the museum to fulfill the role of a centre of services and research for other institutions.

Development activities of Muzeum Śląskie

The development activities have been conducted since 2005 and aim to comprehensively revitalize the site and buildings of the former ‘Katowice’ mine, in particular through renovation and conversion of important buildings of the former mine. The whole investment process is divided into three stages:

  • Stage 1 (2007-2015) – Construction of the new venue for Muzeum Śląskie and regeneration of 4 old buildings, a project implemented under the Regional Operational Programme of the Region of Silesia 2007-2013;
  • Stage 2 (2014-2017) – Regeneration of 2 former mining buildings and provision of infrastructure – a project implemented within the framework of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014;
  • Stage 3– Regeneration of 7 other buildings as part of several projects and various funding sources.

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