Ošwięcim Visible City
Obviously, the Second World War has had a major impact on the development of Ošwięcim, when the city transformed from a small, moderate city into a post-war city with the horrible legacy of the concentration camps. Two big institutions played an important role after the war: the Auschwitz State Museum and the chemical firm Dwory SA. During Poland’s communist era both where remodeled into state institutions and the chemical industry became a global player. This position became weaker by the end of communism and never revitalized from this. On the other hand, the Auschwitz State Museum became more and more important for the city but the Museum is not playing an important role in the planning of the city. Overall, the city of Ošwięcim is made up of a couple of areas with very specific and different characters. The structure seems to be random, making the urban tissue a patchwork of incongruous parts, characterized by linear and spatial fragmentation. On first reading, the three main entities (city, camps, factories) are separated by vast green zones without any clear and distinct qualification. In reality, however, there are further divisions: the functional organization of Ošwięcim shows specific area divisions and uses. Every single entity is defined by a specific use: daily life with all the main facilities; factory; tourism industry and transportation facilities attached to it. Many non-defined zones constitute zones in-between blocks of flat and mainly dense fragments, while public spaces are rare. While in Communist times a spatial adherence between daily life and industry still existed, nowadays that situation is reversed. The factories are all most in decay, while the tourist industry is totally isolated spatially, economically and socially from Ošwięcim itself. The organization of the city is separated and has nothing to do with these two main entities.
MSc studio BC, semester 15, 2009-12
Participants: Nicolas Fabre, Ben de Lange, Pauline Marcombe, Emilie Meaud, Matthijs Puppels, Tom Reijnen, Bart Selten, Mingyu Seol, Jiayu Tjong, Querien Velter, You-Min Won.
Mentors: Henriette Bier, Eelco Dekker, Oscar Rommens, Marc Schoonderbeek, Freerk Hoekstra.