Architecture is a refuge, and fear has always been an important element affecting the space, from gated estates to fallout shelters. However, safe architecture often involves some form of oppressiveness towards its users. Armed conflicts, terrorist attacks or bomb threats may result in either rational solutions or crazy visions. On the one hand, Western cities are changing into fortresses with concrete barriers, but on the other architecture and urbanism long ago became colonisers’ tools of domination and segregation. As the shelter in Plac Strzegomski demonstrates, architecture of fear has another important aspect – it is permanent. Bunkers are scattered across the centres of European cities and, for example, on the shores of Normandy, like ruins of an ancient civilisation. It does not mean, however, that we are less scared today. Only the threats have changed.
Łukasz Wojciechowski is an architect working at the VROA Architekci studio who worked on the adaptation of the former German shelter to house Wrocław Contemporary Museum. He is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture of Wrocław University of Technology, author of the book Architektura racjonalnej Europy [The architecture of rational Europe], journalist.