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The Return of the Sacrum, Jewish Culture Centre in Sokolow Malopolski

Part 2 Project 2023
Ewa Pokrzywa
Cracow University of Technology | Poland
The project aims to revitalize the former Jewish Cemetery, a challenging site in a small town where the past is sacred but neglected. It seeks to combine history and the present while respecting its sacred nature. In Poland, most Jewish cemeteries have been partially or completely destroyed, making it impossible for families to find their loved ones' graves. Sokolow Malopolski's cemetery, established in the 17th century, suffered the same fate, degraded to a warehouse area.

The proposed project introduces a new function to the entire plot, respecting the sacred area by minimizing disturbance. The plan includes a Center for Jewish Culture that will research and share the history of Judaic places with the local population. It will become a bridge between history and the present, fostering education and tourist interest.

A significant aspect of the project is the transformed Ohel, accessible only to Judaism followers. Visitors can pray and give thanks in an underground link between the Center Pavilion and the Ohel, featuring a marble slab commemorating tzaddikim, and names engraved on the walls.

The garden layout resembles cemetery quarters, reminding us of the area's history. Symbolism permeates the design, sparking various interpretations. The project also explores how local design influences community attitudes and development opportunities.

Ewa Pokrzywa


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