Guggenheim Museum
Cultural | Art Museum
Helsinki| Finland
2014 | International Competition

Continuing in the exploratory spirit of Nordic Modernism, we envision the museum as a public place to celebrate art awash in the unique and constantly shifting northern light of Finland.

The building is cast as an integral part of the waterfront in which topography, landscape and the city block structure are "smoothed" together to form the Guggenheim Helsinki - a unique place nestled between city, park, harbor and sea. The building's siting and form creates a complimentary group of performance, event and gathering spaces. These "public pockets" retain unique characteristics and differ in their orientation to the sun, city and water, as well as in their scale and attitude.

The northern public space, Museum Square, is the more active of these pockets - a gathering space for a wide variety of public events, such as art markets or waterfront festivals. Reinforcing this strong connection to the city, the museum's northernmost vertical massing is similar to that of significant buildings along the harbor-front, thus allowing it to participate in a symbiotic urban dialogue.

Mid-museum, Harbour Plaza seamlessly traverses from the water's edge to the occupiable/walkable/bike-able topography of the museum's roof. In this way, it figuratively and literally connects the harbor with the park and more cultural institutions to the west. The space here is more intimate and enveloping, creating a place well suited for smaller instrumental concerts and performance works.

Museum Concept
Volumes of Light – Lightscape
Through the shaping of the museum's roof, we have created galleries with specific orientations to highlight the wide daily and seasonal variation of northern light. This creates more curatorial and collection opportunities that would inherently link the work with the place in which it's shown. Each of the galleries has adjacent public space to allow expansion of exhibitions and for unique visitor interaction. The public entry hall will be used to present Nordic art and design, melding the public display of art with the energy and activity of the harbor front.

Lighting / Daylighting
The transparency and location of glass between the laminated wood beams varies, creating dappled patterned light on the interior public spaces and an even wash of daylight within the galleries. Further control in art spaces is provided by mechanically operated scrims below the glass, along with a secondary LED system that provide both ambient and directed light.

This varied roof-scape is visible from within the building and from the harbor, becoming emblematic of the Guggenheim Helsinki. As each gallery roof is oriented to exhibit specific lighting characteristics of Finland’s unique location, and the ambient and color quality from gallery to gallery changes throughout the day and evening, the light itself is put on exhibit.

Designed in Partnership with: studio_sk
Landscape Architect: Groundworks Office