Guggenheim Helsinki Museum



Blurring the boundaries of institutional and public programming in a welcoming and civic-minded gesture, our proposal for the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition is an iconic landmark at the water’s edge that provides the city with a large public covered space, a rooftop promenade, and a world class museum.

Through robust programmable public space and ambitious curatorial, educational and partnership initiatives, the museum becomes an active participant in the city. The proposed building provides an infrastructure that can support host of partnerships and initiatives with local artists, educators, architects, community groups, businesses and government.

The Guggenheim Museum has been expanding its role as “a vital cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums” through programs such as the BMW lab project. The culminating exhibit, participatory city, points to an expansion of the role of the museum in the city.

Helsinki is an ideal context for a new type of building that will continue this work. This project can also provide open multivalent public spaces and establish a framework for dialog with the citizens, businesses and institutions of Helsinki.

The “Urban Living Room” provides a protected outdoor space on the water that can be used year-round. During long summer days, a south facing aperture fills the void with natural light. For the darker winter days, the illuminated space becomes an inviting figure in the cityscape. As the European city with the most days of snow and the sixth for rain, Helsinki will benefit from a large covered outdoor space on the waterfront- extending the public utility of this incredible site. This space can also accommodate temporary installations. In the summer when there are many more visitors, this space can shelter expanding programming into the long summer night.

The sculpted connection between the pier and the Olympic Terminal drop off level creates an amphitheater/eventspace and also establishes an anchor to the pedestrian harbor area.

At the upper level, the roof of the building is an occupiable park-like surface. There is also a smaller covered area on this level at the location of the restaurant. This space could accommodate a temporary installation as well. When the adjacent terminal is built, it could become a connection to this new structure- extending the raised occupiable surface.

Galleries are simple and flexible allowing a changeable configuration depending on curatorial needs. Natural light will be incorporated in galleries but supplemented with artificial lighting.

The building connects diverse city circulation and public spaces. A large open plaza on the north side welcomes visitors and the city, maintaining open vistas and circulation space. The west side of the building is cut back to create a direct open axis along Etelaranta between Market Square/Esplanadi Park and Tahititornin Vuori Park. On the south side, we propose to connect the building to the raised platform at the ferry Terminal. This connection covers the truck access route and provides a park like public route directly linking the “Urban Living Room” and the roof of the museum to the city along the north/south axis.