Helsinki Guggenheim Museum Proposal
Our proposal offers a design that exploits the tensions that exist within the site and program. Guggenheim Helsinki is composed of two equally compelling parts; the Guggenheim Foundation – a platform for active engagement with contemporary art, and the City of Helsinki – representing a rich history of Finnish Culture. After a thorough analysis of Helsinki as a layered urban context, and Guggenheim as a cross-cultural and innovative foundation, Helsinki 50 /50 relies on the alchemy of the seemingly dissonant parts.
The design takes its cues from the contrasting organizational forms of Guggenheim Helsinki’s site: the organic Tahitorninvuoran Puisto and the orthogonal urban fabric of Helsinki. The juxtaposition of these two morphologies defines the starting point for this project. Vertical geometries, both reminiscent of natural terrain and traditional Sami dwelling, house the exhibition spaces and provide for a visual landmark when entering the Harbor. In contrast to the vertical forms, a horizontal datum is emphasized, not only to connect Tahtitorninuoran Puisto to the museum and quayside, but to also provide familiarity of proportion, rhythm, and scale to the surrounding context.
The Guggenheim Foundation seeks to “engage both local and global audiences” through educational exhibitions of various contemporary art forms. The two morphologies—vertical and horizontal—lend themselves to contrasting spatial qualities. Programmatically, the museum can be distilled into two spaces, galleries, and non-galleries. The galleries, corresponding to the vertical forms, are inward focused and top-lit allowing for concentrated views on the art exhibitions, while the non-gallery spaces, taking on a horizontal form, are side-lit and contain strategic viewpoints from which users can experience Helsinki’s cityscape. The contrast in both spatial qualities, and focus on view, allow the users experience to seamlessly alternate between the content of world-renowned exhibitions and the local content of Helsinki.
While users access the site from three different points—the forecourt, the park, or from Olympia Terminal—the main entrance to the museum is located to the northern, facing the forecourt. If arriving by boat or from the park, one can either walk along the quayside to the museum entrance, passing the café, restaurant, and museum shop or via the roofscape, descending to the forecourt adjacent to the museum entrance. The roof, acting as an extension of Tahitorninvuoran Puisto, is characterized by a gradient of landscape and hardscape. Upon approach of the museum, one can distinguish most ideal space to view the Harbor from, both within the museum as well as from the roof. Regardless of whether users enter the museum, or ascend to the roofscape, a similar spatial experience exists, consisting of the folding and unfolding of views.
Helsinki 50/50 acts as a continuation of the public realm, achieving the goal of linking visitors to the area’s history, culture and public life. Designed not only for those who enter the museum, the site is a public destination in itself and forms a connection between Tahitorninvuoran Puisto and the Quayside, thus linking the major historical and cultural landmarks of Helsinki.