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Some project history

by on 26 May 2011

Brier, 1914

Handshouse Studio (HH) approached us at the Timber Framers Guild (TFG) to fabricate the timber structure in Sanok, Poland. Commissioned by the Museum and funded by the Kronhill Pletka Foundation, the collaboration of  Handshouse Studio and the Timber Framers Guild spanned 2011 through 2013 and produced a unique suspended structure and an elaborate decorative painted ceiling within. This account focuses on the structure.

Beginning in 2004, Handshouse Studio led research projects studying archival data, methods and materials specific to the Gwozdziec Synagogue roof system and ornamentation. The synagogue was built in 1731 and destroyed by the German Army in WWI. Our reconstruction will be suspended over the main exhibit floor of the Museum of History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. This new museum is currently under construction.

 This project is now fully up to speed on the ground. During the project TFG will be responsible for timber conversion, fabrication, assembly and disassembly of this truss roof system and four vertical feet of log wall. Unless weather or other crisis intervenes, we expect this to be an ‘acoustic site’; all hand-tools, all the time.

In the original building three of the six primary roof trusses were severed during a remodel to make room for an internal cupola and coped plank ceiling, which served as canvas for elaborate polychromatic religious paintings. We intend to repeat this evolution; building the original frame, and then modifying to accept the internal cupola. Understandably, this has made the engineering and joinery a more complex exercise. Ceiling boards will be installed, then disassembled in panels as preparation for a year of painting workshops. The timber frame will be dismantled and trucked to Warsaw. Installation at the museum is anticipated for July 2011.

Rendering of the Museum, completed on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto.


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