The Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jewish People during World War II in Markowa is Poland’s first institution commemorating Poles who helped Jews. The museum’s ascetic architectural form that cuts into the ground, as well as the exhibition hidden inside, was designed by Nizio Design International. The museum was opened March 17, 2016.
Within the museum’s layout composition it is not only the form, but all the other elements, too, such as texture and material, that are to express the content related to the museum’s message. The minimalist, abstract architectural forms that have been applied here trigger certain feelings in visitors. The ascetic shape of the building is reminiscent of a house. The symbolic vision of home, which is associated with love and security, was confronted by the designers with compositional forms that express anxiety and threat. The building of reinforced concrete has facades clad in weathering steel sheets which develop a rust-like appearance indicative of the passage of time. With the architectural form being recessed in the terrain and with the materials used, the building blends in with the surroundings and amalgamates with them. For becoming a part of the context of the village and the broader history it reminds visitors of the history and life of the pre-war Markowa. Not only does it refer to the time of the Shoah, but also reveals the unchanging nature of being, against the odds of fate and history.