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Our fathers and mothers

Zofia and Oscar Hansen are known mainly as architects even though their projects exceeded their time and many of them remained on paper. In Warsaw we have only two of their house estate realizations – Przyczółek Grochowski and the one in the district of Rakowiec.

Oskar Hansen started his career with a bombshell – as a student at he conference in Bergamo in 1945 he criticised Le Corbusier claiming that the rules set by him were inhumane, that what he built was more a monument of a creator rather than space which people really would like to use. Hanson’s theory proposed to open architecture up to its users and allow them to co-create it.

At the exhibition the theory of Open Form is well presented in the exposition catalogue from Milan 1960. We have here photographs showing how different residents of one blockhouse can be and graphics with crossed out symbol of sardines. Because blockhouse is neither a can with sardines, nor a machine for living.

The exhibition designed by Centrala demonstrates how complex the Hansens’ output was and how various elements complemented one another – architecture, designing exhibitions, interiors, drawings, sculptural objects, furniture, pedagogical activities.

The Museum of Modern Art designates its next Father Founder – a classic of the second part of the 20th century who has shaped our modern way of perceiving art. Curators have initiated new research to show what the Hansens socially sensitive architecture could be today. The exhibition was hosted in many cities abroad. There the emphasis was put on Oskar, whereas in Warsaw Zofia has joined in. Because museum has not only fathers but also mothers.

The ‘Oskar and Zofia Hansen. Open Form’ exhibition can be visited at the Museum on the Vistula (Wybrzeże Kosciuszkowskie St 22), 16th September – 29th October. Opening day 15th September, 8 PM. Admission free. More at

Photo: materials by MoMA/ by courtesy of The Zofia and Oskar Foundation & Bartosz Stawiarski

Bartosz Stawiarski.

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