Museum Entrance. Courtesy of The Lost Shtetl Museum.
This unique museum is being created by an international team of architects and designers. Rainer Mahlamäki and his Finnish architecture firm Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects (www.lma.fi), recipients of numerous international awards, have been selected to design the museum’s architecture. The firm’s designs for the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in 2016 has received numerous European architecture awards.
According to architect Rainer Mahlamäki, “the museum building is an interpretation of a lost shtetl,” dedicated to preserving the memory of the destroyed community. Mahlamäki says he takes inspiration from the shtetls themselves, based on their stories and images. The museum will be one large building whose exterior will recall separate houses in a shtetl, some of which are still standing in Lithuanian towns while others were lost long ago during the war. Thus, while the museum will occupy one single structure, from the outside it will appear as both a single mass and an entire village.
What is also important is that the museum will seek to blend into the surrounding landscape and serve the needs of the public. "We deal in big ideas," the Finnish architects say. "For us, architecture stretches far beyond materiality and is a synthesis of sociology, spatiality, and history."