Building permit for the new Silesian Museum approved

The construction of the new building for the Silesian Museum in Katowice is one of the key undertakings of the Silesian Voivodeship. Now, when the building permit is issued by the City Hall, an architectural vision can be carry into effect. The construction works are to commence in 2010 and it is scheduled to finish them in 2012. The estimated total cost of the undertaking adopted at the time of the competition announcement has been calculated at PLN 240 million. The next stage to follow will be the adaptation of the remaining post-industrial facilities of the former coal-mine.

The plot of land for the new location was acquired in 2005 and it is situated in the once industrial downtown of the city including the site of ‘Katowice’ coal-mine. On top of the modern new construction, the project encompasses adapting the old post-industrial 19th and early 20th c. buildings, including two shafts – ‘Warszawa II’ and ‘Bartosz’, among others. The latter being of particular historical value due to the 19th c. steam hoisting machine.

© Silesian Museum, Old "KWK Katowice" coal mine

An international competition for an architectonic concept of the new Silesian Museum inclusive of the adaptation of the post-industrial site that once was part of the ‘Katowice’ coal-mine, was announced on 30th of October, 2006.

It embraced:
– architectonic – urbanist concept of the new main building
– new Grand Foyer
– new pathway leading to ‘Warszawa II’ lift shaft tower
– adaptation of ‘Warszawa II’ shaft’s engine room
– adaptation of former working clothes storage room

The area to be planned is about 2,7 hectares in size, which constitutes one third of the total area designated for the entire museum complex.

The outcome of the competition was made public on 15th of June 2007. Out of the total number of eighteen projects, the winning one was prepared by Riegler Riewe Architekten ZT-Ges.m.b.H based in Graz. According to it, all the museum construction levels are situated below the ground level. Above it, we shall only be able to see the glass towers that are the only source of natural light for the exhibits beneath. Thanks to this very idea, there is no risk that all the historical buildings of the former coal-mine will be dominated by the modern part of the new museum construction, even though they are situated in the background.

The contract to prepare the comprehensive Project Documentation was concluded on 7th of February 2008.

About the new building…

The exhibition area proper has been planned to occupy two levels with the total space of 6.193,54 sq. m.

P-2 level will host Polish Painting 1800 – 1945, and it is to occupy 1271,56 sq. m.

Polish Painting 1800 – 1945 (1271,56 sq. m)
The collection of over 270 canvasses constitutes the most valuable part of the Museum holdings. It ranks among the most prominent ones in the country boasting Jewess with Lemons (Orange Woman) from1881, by Aleksander Gierymski, among others.

Polish Painting after 1945 (502,25 sq. m)
The collection comprises c.580 pieces. It reflects characteristic trends in the painting of that time and hosts the most interesting representatives of art movements and phenomena. In the Contemporary Art section, the Museum is going to establish a special author’s collection, that will grow over time by commissioning new works by the most celebrated Polish painters.

Non-professional Visual Arts (450,75 sq. m)
Non-professional art has been a fairly familiar, frequently described and carefully documented phenomenon since the end of the 19th century. The collection in the New Museum is to illustrate the unique, non-professional art of the region of Silesia set against the background of its cultural identity. It is the value in its own right from purely artistic and aesthetic point of view.

At P-2 level you will be able to find > Booking Office (93,85 sq. m) and Foyer (340,81 sq. m)

At P-4 level you will be able to see the following:

The History of Silesia Exhibition (861,82 sq. m)
This Exhibition is meant to correspond to the somewhat similar projects present in many museums around the world nowadays. This is why it is planned as a fully interactive multi-sensory experience, generously drawing from the possibilities offered by state-of-the-art communication techniques e.g.: multimedia, that allow for audio and video materials to be lavishly used for better effect. The Exhibition is planned as a narration revolving around the key moments in the history of Silesia and Upper Silesia slowly making its way towards the self-discovery of its artistic, social as well as linguistic identity. Some sections of the exhibition will have commentary in the local Silesian Language in the desire to fulfill one more role of the Museum, namely that of preserving the non-material heritage of the Region.

The Silesian Sacred Art Exhibition (712,54 sq. m)
This one is based on the Museum’s own humble collection from before the year 1939, as well as ethnographic and non-professional visual arts collections, to a certain extent.

Centre for Polish Scenography (751,75 sq. m)

Temporary Exhibitions (879,46 sq. m)

Temporary Exhibitions Foyer (328,75 sq. m)

© Silesian Museum, permanent exhibition at level 4

The exhibition area of the Foyer has been planned to further expand to the P-O level, with extra floor space of 103,06 sq. m.

Temporary exhibitions of the Center for Polish Scenography will also be made accessible to the public in one of the former ‘Katowice’ coal-mine post-industrial facilities, namely: the converted working clothes storage room (marked as M/15). The building will undergo all the necessary adaptation works after the main museum building has been completed, similarly to all other former industrial architecture.

Apart from the Main Building exhibition space, the underground part of the construction will serve many other functions: lecture theaters, conference rooms, a reading-room, collections store-space, art workshops, art preservation department, photo studios, maintenance workshops, workers’ social space, etc..

The 3-level Museum Administration Office Building will rise above the ground level.

Based on the Silesian Museum webpage. To learn more about the Museum visit