Architecture of Survival

Reflections on the Exhibition by Natalia Romik

Approximately 50,000 Jews survived the Holocaust in occupied Poland and Ukraine, some of them using hideouts. Driven by necessity, they were forced to seek refuge in unlikely and seemingly unsuited places such as tree hollows, closets, basements or sewers–staying there for days, and sometimes even years. They are a testament to the architectural creativity of those who had to secure the basic means of sustaining life with minimal resources, without being able to radically alter the space available to them.

Architect, scholar and artist Natalia Romik has identified and studied several hideouts that still exist today. Her research, resulting in the exhibition Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival, accentuates the material and spatial dimensions of living in hiding, gathering the evidence of vernacular, architectural creativity employed under life-threatening conditions. This interdisciplinary catalogue, addresses the fundamental question of the function of architecture in relation to the history of violence and our culture of commemoration.

A graduate in political science, practitioner of architecture and artist, NATALIA ROMIK (*1983, Warsaw) received a PhD at London’s Bartlett School of Architecture in 2018. Romik has been awarded numerous grants, including the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, and the Scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland. Currently she is a postdoctoral fellow at the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah in Paris. 

About the exhibition

Mirjam Wenzel, Kuba Szreder, Natalia Romik, Alexandra Janus, Katja Janitschek
Hatje Cantz
ISBN: 978-3-7757-5596-2

Price: € 34,00