Guggenheim Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland
Competition Entry in Collaboration with Studio_SK

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.

Through the shaping of the museum roof, we have created galleries with specific orientations to highlight the wide daily and seasonal variation of northern light, creating 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 for expansion of exhibitions and 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.

Daylight washes much of the space in light throughout the day. The palette of interior materials is intentionally muted, allowing the color of the natural light to be showcased. Walls of neutral plaster and floors of whitewashed wood and local stone allow the visitors’ attention to be focused on the art, while the building elements take second stage.

Durable materials such as metal cladding, stone and wood ensure a long life for the museum. The use of sustainably harvested wood, a renewable resource, for the grid shell roof structure, minimizes the initial embodied energy for this undertaking and places a premium on a product readily available for construction in Finland. The structural system and integral roof form, while iconic, also allow for large, open column-free spaces and a minimum of load bearing walls or columns.