JEMS Architekci The Matter of Layers


Welcome: Ulrich Müller

Introduction: Claus Käpplinger

Global economic and social shifts as well as environmental concerns are discussed in depth in contemporary architectural discourse. However, practical implementation tends to promote technical solutions for these swiftly evolving circumstances. Frequently, these technical fixes demand greater technological interventions, potentially causing new challenges or consuming more resources. At the same time, the core concept of architecture as the art of constructing lasting, simple, and universal structures is disappearing. The building culture that harmonizes utility, form, material, and setting is progressively being replaced by “systems” dependent on complex technology, streamlined functional processes, and external energy sources.

Against this backdrop, JEMS Architekci presents six projects centered on reconciling sustainability, openness, and multidimensionality. To achieve these traits, the practice often works with “layers” that are structured and prioritized according to the specific design objectives. They can serve as tangible and ideal building materials, signify functional overlays, extend the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces, and enable the creation of different climatic zones within a building. Beyond their concrete quantifiable traits, these layers also shape the cultural significance and, in the best case, contribute to the human dimension of architecture. Working in unison, they reveal an integral, holistic vision of contemporary architecture, where all components are in balance.

Founded in 1988 in Warsaw, JEMS Architekci is among Poland’s earliest private architecture firms and has since become one of the country’s most successful. Among its best-known projects are the AGORA publishing house in Warsaw (2002), the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (2014), the Katowice International Congress Center (2015), and the revitalization of the Warsaw Brewery (2021). In 2013, JEMS won the competition to design the new Polish Embassy building in Berlin, scheduled for completion in late 2023.

Co-organizer: Polnisches Institut Berlin
Supporter: Stiftung für deutsch-polnische Zusammenarbeit
Media partner: Architektura Murator  Builder