The Museum of Fire, which overlooks the principal highway leading from the southern Polish city of Żory to the border, was created with the principal objective of promoting the city. This small structure on the outskirts of the city serves as a landmark, indicating the entrance to Żory. The Museum of Fire is a highly unusual building which looks like a flame dancing on the ground.
Appropriately enough, for Żory’s name derives from a word for fire or flames. When the city was founded in the 12th century, a stretch of woodland was cleared by fire to make space for the new settlement. The origins of the city are remembered every summer with the Festival of Fire, and the city’s emblem is a small flame.
The building comprises three jagged, juxtaposed walls. The shapes of these walls, and the copper panels that cover them, create the impression of dancing flames. The spaces between the walls are fully glazed and form the access to the museum. The walls themselves are of concrete, faced with copper panels on the outside and left exposed on the inside. The floors are of black stone, the same material used for the surrounding external apron. Architects Barbara and Oskar Grabczewski have slashed, cut and folded the building’s silhouette in an attempt to emulate the behaviour of fire.
The copper surface is fiery in colour, and polished to a high sheen so that it glints and flashes in the sunshine.
Since it is exposed to the elements, the copper would normally be vulnerable to the effects of oxidation, which would destroy the ‘fire’ effect. To get round this problem, the manufacturer of the copper panels devised a method for preventing oxidation. The panels are coated in a special varnish similar to that used on the coachwork of cars. This transparent varnish forms a protective film over the glossy copper, preventing the formation of a patina and guaranteeing the ‘flame’ effect for many years to come.
The building hosts multimedia exhibitions on the scientific aspects of natural phenomena.
Source: Plataformaarquitectura, Coopperconcept.org
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