The main prize in the Liturgical category and third place in the public vote. These were the trophies won by an art installation in Poznań's Ostrów Tumski in the international CODAawards competition. The object commemorates the palatium of Mieszko I and the chapel of his wife Dobrawa.
We have already written about the Poznan realization twice: a year ago, after it was put into use, and in July, when the audience voting was underway for the CODAawards competition - arranged since 2013 by Codawarx, an American organization that promotes and realizes artistic objects and concepts in public space. The discreet glass installation, bearing the name " The Spirit of Palatium," maps the outline of the walls of two very important structures: the early medieval princely palatium and the adjacent chapel.
A fragment of the installation on the north side of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, outlining the walls of the palatium
Photo: Jakub Głaz
Relics of both sites dating to the time of Mieszko I were discovered in the past two decades by Poznan archaeologists led by Prof. Hanna Kóčka-Krenz of the Adam Mickiewicz University. The discovered fragments are located right next to the Gothic church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Summo on Ostrow Tumski. Some of the ancient foundations, however, are located under this later-thirteenth-century church.
glass over zakopane
After the measurements, which had been underway since 2015 (including attempts to display the relics under glass or in a special pavilion), the outline of the hidden underground foundations of the palatium and chapel was finally marked with a low (60 cm) wall of art glass. The author of the concept is Pracownia Projektowa J.P. Woźny from Poznań, and Tomasz and Konrad Urbanowicz from Archiglass are responsible for the glass details.
Thick relief glass made from unique castings (Archiglass)
Photo: Katerina Zisopulu-Bleja
The interesting relief texture of the thick glass with a unique form is meant to resemble old stone walls. The upper surface of the installation is smooth, made of tempered glass sheets, with a raster print replicating the appearance of the side walls and with inscriptions integrated into it, bringing the history of the place closer. Illuminated from the inside in the evenings, the composition clearly but discreetly educates about the discoveries, while not interfering in any way with the valuable (and reburied) relics.
Now, thanks to the awards won and the accompanying promotion, the impact of Poznan's "Spirit of the Palatium" can reach a much greater range. The eighteen-member professional jury of the CODAaward competition (full composition and details: here) in June nominated one hundred out of 406 submitted realizations from around the world (the Poznan installation is the only Polish work in the competition).
legibly and without pathos
Later, at the end of June, online voting took place (category: People's Choice). And although "The Spirit of the Palatium" reached the third position in it, the jury awarded it the prize in one of the ten categories - specified "liturgical", which can be translated as "sacred" (despite the fact that the object commemorates a primarily secular building).
On the competition's website, next to the award information, there is an opinion piece by Kevin Walz explaining the selection:
The glass structures stand out for their delicate graphics, impressive construction technology and respect for the architecturewhose secrets they reveal.
The judgment rings true: for the Poznań installation is an example of a form that is discreet, of high quality, and at the same time legible to the average viewer - but without too much literalism or historical pathos. An approach worth following.