Szczecin is Polish seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. It is located on the Oder River, south of the Szczecin Lagoon and the Bay of Pomerania. The city is situated along the south-western shore of Dabie Lake, on both sides of the Oder and on several large islands between the western and eastern branches of the river.
THE MARITIME MUSEUM.
Maritime Museum is a part of National Museum in Szczecin, but needs an individual building to exist in urban tissue, and to exhibit it's collections. It is very important for Szczecin due to it's strong connections with the sea. The competition for it's new building was natural outcome of that need but it was also a matter of creating new, modern icon of the city.
The plot is located by the river Dunczyca in a very important area of Szczecin, called Lasztownia, which used to be part of the Szczecin port since XIII century. On the opposite bank there is Old City, Castle and Chrobry's Bulevard. The area is just by an exit road and is characterized by industrial architecture.
All that indicates that new Museum should become the icon of right bank of the river using all the advantages of the plot location. It should be a counterpoint to the historical part of the city at the same time respectfully highlighting it's features.
The solid of the designed building is a result of several factors. First were strict guidelines considering it's height (14 m), footprint and it's ratio to ground floor area (2/1). Another was the need of it being open both to the river and to the street and connecting bridge with the bank, becoming a part of public space. Also referring to industrial character of surrounding buildings was an issue. The last, but not least was to create appropriate space for exhibition and other functions in a modern, recognizable building.
The answer to all that needs became undercutting the building in a way that highlights viewing axes, opening façades for the best views and creating open public space on the roof accessible from Museum, but also from bridge and street. Using existing port cranes as a part of waterfront façade (essential though separate) was a way to connect with the past of the place and local spirit.
Museum was divided into three functional bands with main functions situated from the seafront side and additional ones from street side divided by the communication band. As the solid was sculptured to be open on the other river bank the split became the perfect space for entrance hall which divides the building into exhibition part and educational – administrative one.
Exhibition spaces are on two floors. They are designed as open and high to fit different needs of exhibitions. Along them magazines and communication cores are located. The other part is situated on three levels with café on the ground floor, 5d cinema and conference room on +1, library and administration on +2.