Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, and National Theater, by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, and National Theater, by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Credit: Courtesy Thomas Phifer and Partners


The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland, has selected Thomas Phifer and Partners to design its new arts complex. The New York-based firm won the commission following an international search that led to a 12-firm design competition.

The new facilities will include two buildings: A 15,000-square-meter (161,458-square-foot) museum, and a 10,000-square-meter (107,639 square feet) building for the TR Warszawa Theater, the National Theater of Poland. The winning competition entry emphasizes transparency: Glass façades allow glimpses of rehearsal studios and museum back-of-house spaces, and one of the theater’s stages opening onto Plac Delifad for public viewing. The entrances of these two volumes will face each other across a covered outdoor public space that will host small-scale performances and link them to nearby Delifad Square.

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, and National Theater, by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, and National Theater, by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Credit: Courtesy Thomas Phifer and Partners


"This is a unique moment in the history and culture of Warsaw, where a creative trajectory is intersecting with positive political and economic forces," Thomas Phifer, FAIA, said in a release. "This new home for contemporary artistic expression, the new cultural center of gravity for Warsaw, must embody this progressive essence. It's about people, open, welcoming, accessible. It must be progressive, optimistic, transparent and populist in spirit."

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, and National Theater, by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, and National Theater, by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Credit: Courtesy Thomas Phifer and Partners


In addition to the design of the two buildings, Thomas Phifer and Partners will also develop conceptual designs for the park area immediately surrounding the complex. The arts complex has budgeted $40 million for the theater and $86 million for the museum, and has a scheduled completion date at the end of 2019.

Site plan.
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Site plan.

Credit: Courtesy Thomas Phifer and Partners