Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Gwoździec Synagogue Replication Project - my summer in Poland

My three summers (and a grand total of six months) of working on this project in Poland (plus four years in the US working on the half-scale model and helping teach some workshops) and it's finally complete!  This is the core exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews,  a new museum in what was once the Warsaw Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland.  This past summer we worked only on painting the bimah (constructed only using hand tools at Massachusetts College of Art several years ago), which will sit slightly off-center under the ceiling.  This was my first time seeing the ceiling installed (which I didn't help with) and it was absolutely breathtaking!  We always painted flat and not overhead on an actual ceiling, so it was a completely different experience to see it installed and slightly curved. A couple people cried and I couldn't blame them.  After investing so much time and energy into this, it was amazing to be standing under it and looking up.  And to think this is a replica - so something like this actually existed at some time and services were held in it.  I almost had a religious experience being under this thing and I'm not even religious!

This last photo was taken at the opening and isn't mine. Credit goes to Magdalena Starowieyska/Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich.  It shows the top/ second floor of the exhibit.  The timber framed structure of the roof is showing through a cut out.  It is partially shingled.

 The architecture of the museum is absolutely insane!:

 The interior is just as beautiful:

More info here: 

or at the projects facebook page: 

A great short video of a profile of the project by CNN with lots of awesome footage:

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