Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
HELSINKI CIRCUIT is both a museum and an urban catalyst. It is conceived to enhance, create, and link key cultural spaces in South Harbor and the center of Helsinki, while revolutionizing the way in which the contemporary museum works. Taking the form of a simple rectangular block, our proposal for the new Guggenheim Museum takes command of the site and has solidity to stand in the large scale surroundings. A key component of our design is an an elevated civic level inserted within the museum that links to the city and existing cultural zones both public and intimate, as well as the park and waterfront, transforming a site that is currently fragmented by Laivasillankatu and private port zones. In this very majestic and historic part of Helsinki, the museum comfortably embraces surrounding infrastructure without over-engineering the ground.
HELSINKI CIRCUIT consists of an elevated plinth and civic level connected to the city via an new pedestrian bridge. Above these are three autonomous museum blocks. The plinth consists of the ground floor and the civic level hold both compact and open floors of commercial, logistical and public programs. These two levels communicate visually, also with the outdoor landscape, via shared programs. Museum collections facilities on the ground floor, such as the conservation studio and storage, can be open for viewing. Bringing in the city and revealing parts of the museum operation is a key strategy for the plinth.
The ‘blocks’ have three autonomous parts - from south, enfilade galleries, special exhibit halls, and learning/admin spaces to north. Each block has its own spatial and programmatic characters and offers a degree of variety in a single museum without compromising the whole. Block strategy also offers additional degree of operational freedom, for instance, being able to control access due to special events, installation/de-installation, etc, and also provides daylight into the civic level (L1). The ‘circuit’ is a path that connects the whole. A hidden gem, it meanders through the blocks and reveals itself partially at the vertical gaps between the blocks; it reinforces the idea of the public at the civic level. The circuit also threads through unique moments (sky café, exhibition lounge, outdoor gallery, roof terrace, media room, restaurant and design store).
Guggenheim Helsinki Honorable Mention