Jun 23–Oct 1, 2023

Landscapes of leisure

ul. Bernardynska 5, Wroclaw 50-156 Map
Tue+Fri-Sun 11 am-5 pm, Wed 10 am-4 pm, Thu 12 am-7 pm

Almost a century ago, leisure in Central Europe went from being a privilege of the richest to a universal right. The political gesture of concession to the laboring women and men soon entered the canon of basic human rights – “man has the right to rest,” the laws, conventions and constitutions proclaimed. When idea of universal recreation became widespread, the infrastructure serving its implementation began to grow. Over the past hundred years, thousands of facilities have been built across Poland (within its previous and current borders) to support this idea.

The architecture of resorts, sanatoriums, holiday homes, mountain chalets, water stations and vacation spots exemplifies the extraordinary diversity of applied solutions: from traditional and historicizing forms to the avant-garde and non-standard approaches to designing the man – architecture – nature interrelationship. Regardless of time, style and aesthetics – all structures share a bond with the natural landscape.

Seeking new forms with successive political and economic breakthroughs – drawing on regional and historical traditions, achieving harmony with the surroundings through similarity, or operating with contrast, abstract compositions of solids, planes and colors – architecture was to be a response to changing reality and social needs. Due to its peculiarities, such architecture often escaped the norms limiting creative freedom, which enabled the emergence of original buildings that were resistant to unification.

Twenty-one structures constructed during the 20th and first two decades of the 21st century were selected for the exhibition. They differ in style, scale and circumstances of their creation. However, there is much more similarities than differences – they were all intended for leisure, recreation and health recovery. All of them are/were exceptional in terms of architectural quality and were built in extremely beautiful surroundings. Some of them have not survived to our time, or have been rebuilt so that they in no way resemble the original assumption. We present them in the form of models that capture their architectural qualities in austere form, and contemporary photographs that evoke the spirit of the place, even when the architecture inspired by it no longer exists.