House of Red and White Smolensky District, Polish Building Competition, Katyn Design, Architecture Poland

House Design Contest in Poland / Russia : Katyn

House of Red and White Competition – Design Contest by ICARCH Gallery

22 Apr 2010

House of Red and White Competition

by ICARCH Gallery

Location: Katyn (Russian: Кáтынь; Polish: Katyń [ˈkatɨɲ]), Smolensky District, Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Polish House Design Contest

Katyn forest
The Katyn massacre, seventy years ago, is impossible to comprehend. Any massacre is impossible to comprehend. Indeed, how could such a tragedy (and similar ones) happen…? How could it be that human beings shoot, from behind, in cold blood and based on “official signatures” of the highest rank, other human beings…?

Katyn memorial – three crosses – Trzy Krzyże u podnóża Świętego Krzyża, taken on 11 August 2005:
Katyn memorial Russia - three crosses - Red White House
photo : Goku122 at Polish Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Russia, the country of Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky, Akhmatova, Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, not to speak about that beautiful Russia that is the land of a very deeply felt Christian Faith…?
How could this be…?
We understand that there are moments in history when, overwhelmed, human beings take wrong decisions.

But how could a whole committee decide to shoot, from behind, “officially” and on orders, so many other human beings…? In the XXth century…?
How could this be…?
Equally incomprehensible almost is what happened just a few days ago, not far from the same place.
What is the relationship between FATE and Human Will…?
In Kracow and Warsaw we saw the pain of incomprehensibility and stoic resignation. Especially the face of the late President’s daughter showed that tragic immobility that perhaps the ancient Greeks had, when confronted with the inexorability of Fate.

What can one do…?
What could a mere (yes, mere) human being do…?
We ask you to design THE HOUSE OF RED AND WHITE.
To be placed in that fatidic forest of Katyn, Russia.
Red and white, the colors of the Polish flag… Red and white, the color of blood and the color of purity.

But also, two colors that have a well defined and almost sacred symbolism in European alchemy (see that seminal book by CarlJung, Psychology and Alchemy).
Red symbolizes the King, the Sun, Fire.
White symbolizes the Queen, the Moon, Water.
In the eternal struggle between the two we have the human and Cosmic Life.
Give expression to both and their intertwined complexity, in your design for a commemorative building:

A memorial house to be placed in the daunted forest of Katyn… The Forest of Death, as it was called…
A house in the forest… a Red and White house… a built symbol of immense suffering that no one should be allowed to repeat.
We urge you to reflect as intensely and as seriously as possible on this incomprehensible tragedy. Explore the relationship between History and A-History, between what is human, and what is not, between the national and the universal, between the contingent and the Cosmic!

Try to reach the eternal, try to give expression to what lies beyond this national tragedy, because in fact it transcends the “national” coordinates.
It is Universal.
Pain is local, indeed, but it is also Universal.
When one dies, everybody dies (or so it should be).
When one is born, everybody is born (or so it should be).

Design The House of Grief.
Design The House of Hope.
Design THE HOUSE OF RED AND WHITE, in the Katyn forest…

Please send us ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that responds to the theme to [email protected]

We will publish all the works received on our website. We will also forward all the entries to the appropriate governmental offices in Poland for their consideration. There is an entry fee of 30E (15E for students) payable through the registration section of our website.

This fee will entitle you to participate in any other competition that we organize, without paying an additional fee. The merit awards will have this chance twice, while the winners, three times. Thus we hope to be able to encourage and enhance creativity in architecture. The registration deadline is September 11th, 2010 (another commemorative day). The deadline for submitting your work is November 11th, 2010 (Poland’s Independence Day).

ICARCH Gallery

House of Red and White Competition information from ICARCH Gallery

Location: Katyn, Poland

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