The Guggenheim Helsinki competition called for a 12,000 square meter art museum on an undeveloped site along Helsinki's historic harborfront.
In response to a site with no clear “back side,” the circular form opens up the museum to its 360-degree surroundings, serving as a gateway between the urban North, the waterside and its ships, and finally the verdant park and the other design and architecture museums beyond. The compact scale of the building and its use of natural, local materials integrates it comfortably and respectfully into its historical context.
By stacking the museum over 4 levels (1 below ground), its footprint on the site is greatly reduced, allowing for a significant landscaped area and also minimally impacted views from Tähtitornin Vuori Park and from nearby streets to the sea. The proposed landscape around the museum would be a year-round highlight of the public/educational programs, transforming the site from a rather uninviting paved lot to an open, welcoming showcase of local Finnish flora. By minimizing the museum’s footprint and sinking the service road below-ground, the entire site--including the roof--can be transformed into a microcosm of Finnish biodiversity.
The entire site and most ground floor programs are open to the public, allowing for seamless circulation throughout the site. A portion of the roof is also publicly accessible, providing spectacular views over the harbor and city to all.