The Lost Shtetl, Šeduva, Lithuania
Location: Šeduva, Lithuania
Year: 2017 -
Programme: Museum, multi-purpose hall, administration spaces
- The project remembers the lost Jewish villages, 'shtetls', decimated by the holocaust
- The Lost Shtetl plays the role of both memorial and museum
- Both exhibitions and architecture are combined seamlessly, projecting a clear narrative
- Each function has its own 'house' within the 'shtetl'
- The large pitched roofs take their form from vernacular architecture
The Lost Shtetl is at the same time a memorial and a museum. Both of the features are to be found in here – the entity is a remembrance of a lost village, but also a universal interpretation of community living and about the physical environment, where we all have the right to live. No other goals have been set to the symbolism of the building –the village itself will tell the story of life.
A contemporary museum adds to our knowledge. The museum architecture and the architecture of the exhibition should have coherence. Often the architectural standpoints of the building and of the exhibition do not meet with each other. This means often that the museum architecture can be lifted up in public spaces, like in lobbies, restaurants etc. while the exhibitions are placed in black boxes. For many reasons, this is entirely acceptable and understandable.
With this work there is the rare opportunity to combine the message of the exhibitions with the architecture of the building. Meaning, that each function is housed in its own “house” - the function and the meaning determine the form of the single house. The exhibition overwhelms the gallery, the lower part of the “house” and the upper part gives it the sense of airiness. The upper part has a saddle back roof; it allows the light to flow in from above. This creates a formation of saddle back roofed buildings, the Lost Shtetl. In the continuation of the design the forms of the roofs are defined and the single “houses” are allowed to vary a little from each other.
The terrain of the building site is sloping. This allows placing the museum activities in two levels. The main entrance is on the upper level, as well as the administration and the multipurpose hall with reception services. The exhibitions are located in the lower level. From the balcony surrounding the market the visitor will have a general view to the exhibition allowing visual connection into the galleries.