The New York-based architect has been selected to design the building complex of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and TR Warszawa Theatre at Plac Defilad.
Thomas Phifer and Partners was selected after a two-stage selection process, beating 11 other architects* that submitted conceptual designs for the two building complex composed of the 15,000sm (161,450sf) Museum and the 10,000sm (107,600sf) Theatre; the two buildings will be connected by a roofed plaza, the first of such type in Warsaw. As can be seen in the site plan below – the Museum is the blue bar on the east and the Theatre is the red square on the west – the two institutions will anchor the northeast corner of Plac Defilad (Parade Ground), which is anchored by the large edifice of the Palace of Culture and Science and borders the Park Świętokrzyski on the north.
The Museum and the Theatre jointly conducted the competition, selecting Phifer's firm for "exhibit[ing] the best understanding on the functional program of the Museum and the Theatre," with a "proposal that proved to be the most city-generating," according to a statement from the two institutions. Although each institution owns its own slice of land and has its own financing for design and construction, the design process will be carried out jointly by the Museum and the Theatre, with an anticipated conclusion of the design by mid-2016 and completion of construction by the end of 2019.
Renderings of Phifer's design are a bit vague in terms of details, but they clearly illustrate his concept for the project: "a building that reveals all it has." According to the statement, "their architecture should reflect this principle and reveal to the passers-by, the thousands of random pedestrians, what is happening inside." In the case of the Theatre one of the stages will open to Plan Defilad (rendering above, next to site plan), such that performances can be watched from both inside and outside simultaneously. Glass walls facing the covered plaza will allow the two institutions to look at each other across the space, a space that the city and the institutions hope will be full of people and activity once the project is complete.