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13 March
2019

JEMS Architekci won the competition!

Today in Krakow, the results of the architectural and urban planning competition for the design of the Planet Lem Literature and Language Centre were announced. The city’s flagship investment in the field of culture will be located on the site of the former Salt Store in Zabłocie by 2023. The international two-stage architectural competition was organised by the City of Krakow, the Krakow Festival Office – the operator of the centre – and the Association of Polish Architects, Krakow Branch.

Results of the Competition Jury, with justification 

The aim of the competition was to create the first multifunctional literary centre of this type in Poland, inspired by similar institutions operating for years around the world (Casa del lector in Madrid, National Centre for Writing in Norwich, literature houses in Germany). The construction of the Planet Lem Literature and Language Centre, along with the competition were announced during a press conference in September last year. The facility will consist of a multimedia narrative exhibition devoted to the thoughts and work of the patron, Stanisław Lem, prepared by the Tengent studio in collaboration with renowned Polish writer Jacek Dukaj, an exhibition on language and communication resulting from collaboration with a coalition of Polish linguists associated in the Foundation for the Museum of the Polish Language, multifunctional rooms where events and literary festivals will be hosted, as well as a publicly accessible media library, a café, a bookshop and a garden. Planet Lem will be developed on a plot of land belonging to the city, with an area of about 1 hectare, at Na Zjeździe 8. The investment includes the revitalisation of the 18th-century Salt Store building located there and the construction of a new building on its eastern side.

The complex will be a natural operational centre for the Krakow – UNESCO City of Literature programme – a place for festivals, a laboratory for multi-generational literary education, as well as an open space for various reading popularisation initiatives, with the assumption of involving numerous literary circles of Krakow. The temporary exhibitions organised here will refer to the centuries-old Krakow literary traditions and the achievements of outstanding writers associated with the city, but Planet Lem is also designed as a space for experimentation and a place for the presentation of important forms and phenomena in contemporary literature. The creation of the Centre will also be part of the Lem 2021 long-term cultural and educational programme, carried out in connection with the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the author of Solaris in 2021.

71 participants were invited to submit studies in the first stage of the competition, and 44 studies were submitted. The Competition Jury chaired by Piotr Lewicki selected the winning design. The jury was composed of eminent architects experienced in cultural projects, including Alberto Veiga from the Barrozzi/Veiga studio – author of the Philharmonic in Szczecin – and Zbigniew Maćków, responsible for the famous Church: Beauty and Kitsch project, which was carried out within the framework of the programme of the European Capital of Culture 2016 in Wrocław. The competition was assigned SARP number 983.