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Paulina Müller - ""White" Route of Opole - Museum of Cement Industry with a didactic path on the route of Opole's technical monuments".

08 of September '21
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2020


Author: Paulina Müller
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Śląskiej

Dr. Małgorzata Balcer-Zgraja

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture"

Opole's skyline is dominated by chimneys, abandoned industrial plants and stonework. Shrouded in mystery, forgotten and neglected, they frighten residents. Once, however, cement plants were a real vein of gold and determined the development of Opole. Today, when the golden era of the cement industry has passed, the former splendor has been obscured by dust, negatively affecting the environment and human health.

Today, only two of the ten cement plants remain in the city. The rest have been destroyed or used for other purposes, losing the memory of the cement industry, which was firmly part of the city's history. The designed building is a memorial, encouraging people to think about the city's heritage and history.

budynek Museum of Cement Industry in Opolebudynek Museum of Cement Industry in Opolebudynek Museum of Cement Industry in Opole

building of the Museum of Cement Industry in Opole

© Paulina Müller

An important element of the project is a didactic path leading through the current and former cement plants of Opole. The path itself, thanks to the use of special concrete, purifies the Opole air. The color of the material used is reminiscent of "white gold," as the marl deposits on which the city is located were once called. The abandoned chimneys of former cement plants are becoming flourishing, green-filled points on the city map, taking an active part in filtering the air.

plan land useplan land useplan land use

site development plan

© Paulina Müller

The museum facility is located on a plot of land formerly occupied by the Groszowice cement plant, which, due to its past, is ideally suited for the location of a museum dedicated to the cement industry. The development of the site is ascetic and simple, in this way the museum object becomes the most important element of the plot. In response to the demand for new green areas, part of the plot has been designated as a park with additional recreational functions. An asset of the land development is the railroad, once used to transport raw material to the cement plant site. In the project it was used as an alternative form of transportation from the nearby Opole Groszowice railroad station directly to the developed area.

rzut poziomu +3 rzut poziomu +52

left: projection of level +3; right: projection of level +52

© Paulina Müller

The museum building is located on the route of the "White" Route of Opole, and is another point of the didactic path. The building refers in its shape to industrial chimneys, and is also a viewing tower from which one can admire the panorama of the city. The shape of the floors determines the flow of light, the main source of which is the oculus. While the center of the building is well-lit, the part intended for the museum exhibition remains in shadow. Communication inside the museum is continuous, solved in the form of two intertwining spirals. Due to air pollution and the scarcity of green areas, part of the building was designated as a park, in addition, a vertical garden was designed in the center, which can be viewed from each floor. Due to the size of the facility, mobile capsules that move continuously inside the building were designed as an alternative form of visiting the exhibition.

przekrój through the buildingprzekrój through the buildingprzekrój through the building

cross section through the building

© Paulina Müller

The content of the exhibition is presented chronologically, using different media. In order to feel them properly and "experience" the history presented in the museum, it is necessary to engage the senses. The project involves the creation of an exhibition that affects the user through touch, hearing, smell and sight. The tour begins with the park providing a "psychological buffer" that isolates visitors from the everyday world and allows them to move back in time. At first, the exhibition has a traditional form, with photos, maps and paintings. In the later part, the history of the cement plant is presented through new media: audio and audiovisual recordings. The next part is an interactive exposition, where the user creates the surrounding space himself. The last form of exposition is experienced through the senses, here you can touch the cement, smell it. An additional form of sightseeing is a mobile application.

park ekspozycja

left: park; right: exhibition

© Paulina Müller

The facility is also designed with catering, retail, auditorium, administrative and educational functions in the form of protruding "sleeves." They also provide viewing terraces overlooking the city of Opole, primarily sites related to the cement industry.

"White" Route of Opole is a combination of remembrance of the past, the city's heritage with issues relevant today - polluted air, little green space. A space that is friendly and needed by residents is being created, a place for the development of social ties while preserving the memory of Opole's heritage.

Paulina MÜLLER

Illustrations © Author

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