Planet Lem

On the anniversary of the death of Stanislaw Lew, Piuarch unveils the design project for a new building dedicated to the Polish writer.

The architects aim at reflecting his literary work, giving the visitors the possibility to engage and interprete the display. In fact the design process recalls the main features of Stanislaw Lem’s major novels.

The linear and rational preexistence of the salt warehouse has been taken as an opportunity and a reference for the construction of the new building.


The design project strives to connect with the urban surroundings and to foster the community engagement and social inclusion. To achieve this, open squares, and green outdoors are included in the project, in order to enhance the visitors’ experience and add value and different possibile uses of the multifunctional space meant to host permanent and temporary exhibitions about communication and language.

Piuarch keeps the geometry of the roof and the depth of the existing building in parallel spans to obtain the largest possible surface on the ground floor. The perimeter of the construction originates from the interaction of the internal structure layout with the building limits and preexisting green spaces. On this plan, the architects establish the height of the roofs according to needs and activities the new center wants to host, and arranged the resulting volumes according to the visual relationship between them and the urban environment. The result is a new building organisation, which naturally incorporates the existing building. The relationship between these two structures will give complexity to the building visiting experience, due to the diverse yet close buildings, as well as the contrast between massive construction and lightness, between tradition and modernity.

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The exhibition space dedicated to the work and thought of Stanislaw Lem is arranged in order to let the visitors approaching the exhibition for the first time learn about the other activities taking place in Planeta Lem. The space is composed of three rooms arranged at three different levels and an introductory space that explains the logic of the exhibition. The upper gallery is destined to host the “meeting with Stanislaw Lem” area.

All these spaces face a 20-meter-high lobby where all connecting solutions start. The introductory space is accessed through a stairs leading down from the lobby. The staircase is designed so that it can be used for conferences or readings.

After the introductory space, the spectator is presented with the choice of two different pathways to access the rooms:

The first one represents the thought of Lem’s character, Trurl. The galleries are accessed by a glass lift moving both horizontally and vertically. The route leading the visitors will depend on their choices, otherwise the overall logic of the route will be elusive.

The second represents the thought of another character, Klaupacius. The access to the galleries is achieved through an ascending ramp which develops in height in the lobby.
Each of the itineraries lead to a different point, facilitating possible diverse solutions to setting up the exhibition, according to different logics.

In summary, the construction of the Center for Literature and Language – Planet Lem has been designed with a great flexibility of use, allowing to adapt and organise the space
according to the interpretation needs of the works of Stanisław Lem and evolution of the expressive possibilities introduced by new technologies.

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The new Center for Literature and Language – Planet Lem is located in the southern part of Krakow, in the district of Podgórze, well connected with the city centre. Planet Lem is part of the tourist and cultural itinerary of southern Krakow, finding its place among places such as the Ghetto Heroes Square, MOCAK Contemporary Art Museum, Tadeusz Kantor Cricotek Art Documentation Centre, the Podgórze Museum.

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