A new three-story, $4-million cultural, exhibition and information center will open in Old Town on June 2, more than seven years after it was planned.
For years there was no funding to build the Wyspianski Pavilion. Then, after the work began in mid-2006, the project ran into delays when the contractor discovered historical artifacts during the work. Construction was halted while archaeologists moved in to handle the artifacts and excavate for more.
The centerpiece of the project will be three stained-glass windows designed by the man for whom the pavilion is named, post-modernist artist and writer Stanislaw Wyspianski, who lived from 1869 to 1907. A unique architectural feature of the pavilion, located at the intersection of pl. Wszystkich Swiętych and ul. Grodzka, is that it will be able to change shape, thanks to movable brick plates hung on steel bars. Before World War II the Pod Lipka apartment building covered the site.
The pavilion, which will serve both Krakow residents and tourists, is one of the biggest cultural investments ever made in the center of Krakow.
Academy Award-winning director Andrzej Wajda came up with the idea for the pavilion. He established a foundation in 1998 to collect money for it. But the foundation was able to raise only enough funds to pay for the original archeological research at the site.
Famed architect Krzysztof Ingarden designed the building in the 1990s. The original plan was for it to be finished in 2000. Thus the city designated the project the Pavilion Wyspianski 2000.
But the money to build the pavilion became available only last year. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage teamed up with the city to pay for the structure, with the ministry picking up 60 percent of the cost.
The official opening on June 2 will be in conjunction with the 750th anniversary of the founding of Krakow.
The contract called for the builder, the Budostal-2 Company, to complete the work by April 30, 2007.
Three factors contributed to a five-week delay, according to Jan Machowski, a representative of the mayor?s office.
?We have to remember that the pavilion is being built in an area where there used to be a Medieval cemetery that belonged to a nearby church,? Machowski said. ? Numerous archeological finds during construction show how many mysteries the center of Krakow still has.?
The contractor delayed the work so archaeologists could comb the area for artifacts, Machowski said.
Pope Benedict XVI?s visit to Krakow in May 2006 caused a few days? delay, Machowski said. The contractor felt it best not to be working on the structure during the 10-day visit, when large crowds would be in the downtown area.
The pavilion will be a blend of history and modernity. A key feature of modern times will be a multimedia system that allows pavilion staff to present information not only inside but also outside the building.
The structure will consist of two main parts. The ul. Grodzka side will have one big room for exhibitions. The City Hall side will have three floors of space for cultural and tourist information.
The three stained-glass windows that Stanislaw Wyspianski designed will be part of the building?s façade rather than its interior.
The pavilion will also have a basement that features pieces of exposed-stone and brick walls and a piece of ceiling vault from the 18th Century.