Posts tagged with "Helsinki":

Placeholder Alt Text

Amos Rex brings underground art and a lunar playscape to Helsinki

A pink gecko scuttles across a psychedelic digital landscape, deftly navigating a tangled maze of drifting butterflies, waddling alligators, and a pair of pensive whales passing below. Stepping on any creature will result in its explosive demise, yet simply navigating the trippy environment renders such destruction inevitable. This sort of high-tech super-nature is par for the course in Japanese art collective teamLab’s immersive exhibitions but a first for Helsinki, Finland—and Amos Rex, the new art museum hosting the group’s first show in the Nordic region. The five-year, $64-million Amos Rex project was carried out by local Finnish firm JKMM and supported largely by Konstsamfundet, the association behind the old Amos Rex Art Museum (RIP 1965–2017). The project involved both a $17-million facelift of Lasipalatsi, the "Glass Palace" built in central Helsinki in the 1930s by three Finnish architecture students for the 1940 Helsinki Olympics (which was postponed until 1952 due to the Second World War), as well as the construction of a new underground art museum particularly well-suited for new media and immersive installation art. Because Lasipalatsi was originally supposed to be temporary, its young designers received carte blanche, resulting in an ambitious Functionalist fun home that includes a cinema, restaurants, shops, and a backdoor public square surrounded by 19th-century neoclassical barracks. Almost destroyed in the 1980s but listed and restored in the 1990s when it reemerged with a glorious inner coat of pastels, the Glass Palace is a resilient building with a tumultuous past. JKMM have taken care to preserve much of this history, including its doors and windows, fitted furniture and movie seats, plus the first outdoor neon sign in Finland. The revitalized 550-seat art deco cinema and new film program will be the delight of many a cinephile, yet the most compelling aspect of Lasipalatsi—and where the old most energetically meets the new—is out back. Once the site of military parades, the historic public square has been transformed into a surreal lunar landscape, where a series of bulbous domes sporting large round windows now connects a veritable jungle gym of a plaza to an underground art hub. “I was sitting in a meeting a couple of weeks ago, when suddenly a man with a stroller appeared right outside the window of our second-floor office,” grins Timor Riitamaa, the head of communications and marketing at Amos Rex. “That was when I realized the park was open.” Positioned somewhere between alien topography and an ancient lifeform, the textured concrete playscape is a total hit in Helsinki. Sunbathers, selfie-snapping teens, Instagram influencers, romping children, and even daredevil parents can be seen ascending the five volcano-like protrusions to peer down into the subterranean art world below. Within the museum, sliding butts, squished noses and photography wars are now as common a view as the art, which unfurls in a columnless 24,000-square-foot gallery space. Building underground is never easy, and for JKMM it involved burrowing through nearly 140,000 square feet of hard bedrock found right underneath the city’s surface. Their approach was slow but steady—and went largely unnoticed. The square closed in 2015 so that the architects could carry out miniature controlled explosions, timed for every four minutes so the Helsinki Metro system could run undisturbed. It was a teeth-gritting exercise, but little of that angst can be felt from the ethereal white staircase connecting Lasipalatsi to the new museum lobby below. Descending the stairs, a generous view out onto the square framing Lasipalatsi’s old columns beside new sci-fi domes is swallowed up by a cloud of soft lighting. Designed by Finnish company Doctor Design, the textured ceiling of pleated fabric shades diffuses light through rows of flower-like pendants. Tightly bundled together in a way that floats between surrealism and Finnish National Romanticism, the lights are a clear nod to Lasipalatsi’s heritage. The ceiling flower field yields to two large tunnels ending in angled circular skylights that peer out onto the public plaza some 20 feet above. One offers a significant view out onto the staircase of the old theatre, while the second was framed by the tiny hands and faces of several miniature onlookers during my visit. Futuristic circular benches are positioned directly below, seemingly at the ready for sky-gazers. “We wanted the feeling of going underground to be as positive and light as possible,” says Kai Kartio, director of Amos Rex. “We had to go under, but our solution was to bring the museum upwards—you always have contact with daylight,” confirms Freja Stahlberg, the project architect. The extent of the sculptural skylights’ magnetic effect on the public square above was a delightful surprise for both architect and museum. Back below ground, Massless, the inaugural exhibition by teamLab, echoes the world-making imagination of the architects. Four immersive installations make full use of JKMM’s revolutionary modular museum layout, realized through an acoustic-disk ceiling made from perforated aluminum and a wooden gridded floor below which “data, air, and power all flow,” according to the architect. The museum’s high-tech fixtures meet their match in the 137 projectors, motion sensor technology, and eight miles of cables that make up teamLab’s digital multiverse. The exhibition consists of fan favorites like Graffiti Nature as well as Vortex of Light Particles, a site-specific piece that involves an inverted waterfall seemingly bent on sucking visitors into an Anish Kapoor-like black hole that inhabits the main domed ceiling. Vortex is clearly the stuff of tripping nerds’ dreams (it was a hit among Silicon Valley tech bros at Pace in Palo Alto), while its dark dreamscape subverts the light-filled expectations of Amos Rex, proving the museum’s versatility. “Virtual reality isolates you in a virtual space. We are trying to bring everyone back to a physical space,” said teamLab member Nonaka Kazumasa. While Massless uses digital technology to bring its viewers closer to nature and each other, Amos Rex performs the larger function of bringing untraditional art experiences to Helsinki’s public in a spatially-sensitive and cost-effective way. It is a cunning answer to the city's future urban development plan that prioritizes inner-city densification, but Amos Rex should also be seen as a testament to the merits of building deeper and the informal spaces for public play that can bubble up to the surface.
Placeholder Alt Text

Helsinki rejects Guggenheim outpost

Late last night the Helsinki city council rejected a proposal to fund a new Guggenheim Helsinki Museum; the final tally was 53 to 32. Despite its initial failures in securing funding from the Finnish government, up until this vote the Helsinki Guggenheim Museum was still a real possibility. However, it seems this rejection has finally capped years of controversy. First proposed in 2011, the Guggenheim Helsinki has been the subject of years of back-and-forth between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Finnish government over who would pay for the proposed museum's cost and maintenance. Much like the Guggenheim Bilbao, the museum would've featured parts of the foundation's modern art collection on a rotating basis, along with works by local artists. The foundation argued that tourism revenue would outweigh the government's funding. However, critics argued that the Guggenheim Foundation was seeking to spread its international brand at the unfair expense of Finnish taxpayers (and that Helsinki already had a robust arts scene). In 2014, the foundation launched an international competition to pick a design and win over the Finns in the process. Simultaneously, a competition formed by the proposed museum's critics, dubbed The Next Helsinki, sought alternative proposals. The Next Helsinki competition announced its winners in April, 2015; that same June the Guggenheim named Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architectes as their winner. Then, in September 2016, the incumbent and fiscally conservative Finnish government said that the museum's costs were too high—an estimated $138 million. The project was revived when, on this past November 11, Helsinki's city board members narrowly gave it the greenlight with a new funding scheme: The city would cough up approximately $85 million while the Guggenheim Helsinki foundation would provide the rest. However, their vote—which was a marginal 8 to 7—was not binding. Last night's vote from the 85-member strong city council, however, has nixed that. Biennale Books co-founder Laura Iloniemi told The Architect's Newspaper that the city councilor's concerns included the museum's appearance ("coal pile," "bunker," "inappropriate for the site"), the value of the proposed harbor site, the Guggenheim's association with workers' rights issues in Abu Dhabi (the location of one of their outposts), doubts about the Guggenheim's tourism forecasts, and frustration with the foundation's lack of transparency and forceful lobbying. Those in favor said the Guggenheim Helsinki was a unique opportunity that would increase tourism and the city's cultural offerings while forging a stronger trans-Atlantic connection. According to The New York Times, the Helsinki Council communications department released a statement after the vote, which said “The main objections to the project presented by Council members included the project’s excessive cost for the Finnish taxpayer; inadequate private funding; and the proposed site, which was considered too valuable for the project.” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, told the Times that “I suppose that it was a reaction to a sense of engulfing internationalism, or a reaction against globalism.... That’s how I’m explaining it to myself.” Even as the Guggenheim Helsinki fades away, it leaves behind a legacy of alternative proposals: Urban Research, the imprint of Next Helsinki co-organizer Terreform, has announced the publication of a book featuring the Next Helsinki competition's designs. Dubbed The Helsinki Effect: Public Alternatives to the Guggenheim Model of Culture-Driven Development, it's due out in December and available for pre-order. The Helsinki Effect was edited by Checkpoint Helsinki board member Terike Haapoja, G.U.L.F. editor Andrew Ross, and Terreform founder Michael Sorkin; each editor has also contributed a chapter (Sorkin's is titled "WALMART COMES TO HELSINKI"). It looks at the submissions as a way of enlivening public discourse on "the role of culture in civic health and economic development," the consequences of which stretch beyond Finland and its capital. The Helsinki Effect also includes essays from leading urbanists, artists, and architects that touch on The Next Helsinki competition's significance to contemporary urban principles. Prominent Finnish architect and Next Helsinki juror Juhani Pallasmaa contributed a chapter to the book; in it he forcefully argues against the public's funding of Guggenheim's Helsinki outpost. He also skewers the Guggenheim Foundation's winning entries:
The awarded entries hardly acknowledge the unique historical narrative, character, and quality of Helsinki, or the adjacency of the neoclassical part of the city. All the awarded projects are self-centered in various ways, and lack an understanding of and respect for urban traditions, which altogether belong to the most valuable heritage of culture. All the winning entries are rather detached from the context and have little, if any, meaningful interaction with their neighbors.
Speaking to The Architects' Journal, Pallasmaa described the venture as a "ruthless business presented as a cultural project," calling for taxpayers money to better spent on furthering Finnish artistic culture. Finnish politician Anders Adlercreutz, contrasting the Guggenheim Helsinki with Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao, said "I simply can’t feel any excitement when viewing the winning proposal... It feels like a lost opportunity altogether, an entry that does very little to enhance the whole harbor area, that doesn’t contribute to the public space around it and that frankly looks quite out of place."
Placeholder Alt Text

Government funding denied to Guggenheim Foundation’s Helsinki museum

Long the subject of international controversy—and even an alternative competition dubbed the Next Helsinki—the Guggenheim's push to build a new museum in Helsinki has been dealt a major blow. The saga goes back more than two years when the Guggenheim Foundation solicited international proposals for a new, Kunsthalle-style outpost in Finland's capital. The museum would be prominently located on the Helsinki waterfront. Under the terms of the foundation's proposal—which was modified in 2013 after an initial rejection—the government would cover the cost of construction ($147 million for the winning design from Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architectes) as well a share of the operating costs. In return, the Guggenheim Foundation would send major exhibitions to the museum, which would also employ Finns and generate tourism revenue. The foundation's proposal, which aimed to recreate the "Bilbao Effect," sparked major debate locally and abroad. Next Helsinki organizer Michael Sorkin wrote that the alternative competition was born of the “outrage at the march of the homogenizing multi-national brand culture emblematized by the imperial Guggenheim franchise—the cultural equivalent of Starbucks...” During 2015, from April to May, the Guggenheim Foundation hosted an exhibition in Helsinki dubbed Guggenheim Helsinki Now: Six Finalist Designs Unveiled to publicize their competition's finalists; the exhibit was accompanied by "a series of events, talks and workshops designed to engage a range of age groups [and extend] the exhibition content." Now, according to Reuters, the Finnish government won't foot the bill for a museum. Reuters quotes Sampo Terho, parliamentary head of the Finns Party (which is currently part of the Finnish parliament's governing coalition), as saying "This is the end of the matter, we have ruled out state funding (for Guggenheim) once and for all, for this government." Reuters reports that the foundation's reservation on its harbor site runs out at the end of the year and "an extension would need justifications."
Placeholder Alt Text

The brother and sister architectural duo aiming to create the ultimate customizable, eco-friendly home

With a new project in the woods 30 miles outside of Helsinki, California and Finland–based brother and sister duo Ateljé Sotamaa is drawing on the longstanding tradition of shaping space outside the home through the home itself. The Atelier Houses are a planned community of 40 dwellings, but they are a far cry from beige clapboard subdivisions. Through digital fabrication and construction technology that leaves a light footprint on the land, the structures are infinitely customizable. Ateljé Sotamaa intends to create a new social space that is communal and ecological without sacrificing the comfort and conveniences of urban life.

The concept updates New Urbanism—a decades-old town plan based on walkable, green cities—with 21st-century technological optimism and individualistic zeal. Kivi Sotamaa, who cofounded the studio with his sister Tuuli, explained that the basic unit of an Atelier House is a single plank of wood. From there, clients can design almost infinitely customizable homes that draw on both the traditional Finnish fishing village and the camping lean-to, two typologies that embrace nature as a prerequisite of their functions.

“The house is radically open to the world around it,” Kivi said. “That’s a quality that comes with the design. Beyond that, each individual and each site is different, which will actually result in a community that’s quite nuanced and varied.” The Atelier Houses are single-family dwellings and two-story row houses that must have a large exposure to visually dispel the idea of home-as-fortress. Materials include local timber for visual unity and ecological soundness, as well as for an homage to the vernacular. The studio designed both the built-ins and the furniture, which residents have the option to customize.

Kivi worked with architect Greg Lynn, a professor and pioneer of mass customization, at the University of California, Los Angeles, but he takes Lynn’s ideas further. “I’m interested in whether you could use digital design and manufacturing tools that would come at the same price as a prefab house but with a strong architectural idea,” Sotamaa said. He would like to see the digital meld with the architectural more seamlessly; the houses are designed to facilitate this transition and anticipate future synergies. The assembly process is structured so that little machinery is needed on-site for construction and assembly, which cuts costs and reduces damage to the surrounding landscape. The community will be networked via fiber-optic cables to enhance connectivity to neighboring dwellings and the world outside.

The prototype home was completed in 2015, while construction on the first of the Atelier Houses is expected to begin this fall. Ateljé Sotamaa anticipates that developments in digital design and manufacturing will parallel hypercustomization trends in the music industry. “Technology will allow architects to offer bespoke solutions much more easily. More people will be able to participate in the design in a meaningful way.”

Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> Everyone’s a winner? Mitchell Joachim and Michael Sorkin square off with rival anti-Guggenheim competitions

What is it about architect Mitchell Joachim that he cannot let go of his Oedipal desire to go after his former "father" employer Michael Sorkin? Not happy about the direction of Sorkin’s non-profit Terreform, Joachim went out and founded his own 501c3, Terreform ONE. Most recently, Sorkin co-organized and sponsored The Next Helsink—with Checkpoint Helsinki, Terreform, Occupy Museums, and Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.)—a protest “call for ideas” to the high profile Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition. This alternative competition received hundreds of entries and allowed multiple voices to critique the official Guggenheim one. With Sorkin’s project about to publish a book of its entries, Joachim has now posted online a page of his own where he declares Terreform One the winner of “The New Official Alternative Award Winners of the Guggenheim Helsinki architecture and urban design counter-competition.” It is hard to tell how Mr. Joachim wants us to take the competition. His "winning" design features a bare rear-end with windows. Also, the “competition” seems not have had jurors and or even a call to submit. He claims it was co-sponsored by Anonymous Finland, the Libertarian Anti-Ellsworth Toohey League, Occupy Helsinki, and Eco-communalism. This anti-anti-competition seems to believe it is showing up Next Helsinki, but who can save Sorkin from Joachim? Politico doesn't seem to mind all the fuss, however. The online magazine recently profiled Joachim in the video below.
Placeholder Alt Text

Goth Bilbao: Moreau Kusunoki Named Winner of Guggenheim Helsinki Competition

Maybe its the extra darkness in the winter. The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, which famously generated an astounding 1,715 submissions, came to a conclusion today as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced the winner. Parisian firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes and its “Art in the City” proposal was chosen from six international finalists. The design, which resembles a more austere, dark-but-not-quite-post-apocalyptic version of the Guggenheim Bilbao, “invites visitors to engage with museum artwork and programs across a gathering of linked pavilions and plazas organized around an interior street.” The Goth Bilbao in Helsinki is clad in charred local timber and glass. Nine volumes and a tower mimic waves and a lighthouse along the harbor, while a promenade meanders along the South Harbor’s waterfront and a pedestrian footbridge connects to the nearby park. “I extend the Guggenheim’s warmest congratulations to Moreau Kusunoki for having achieved the design goals of this competition with such elegance, sensitivity, and clarity,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “I also want to express our admiration and gratitude to the other five finalists and to all of the architects who participated in this competition.” Jury chair Mark Wigley, professor and dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, said at the announcement that “Moreau Kusunoki has titled its proposal ‘Art in the City,’ a name that sums up the qualities the jury admired in the design,” he continued, “The waterfront, park, and nearby urban area all have a dialogue with the loose cluster of pavilions, with people and activities flowing between them. The design is imbued with a sense of community and animation that matches the ambitions of the brief to honor both the people of Finland and the creation of a more responsive museum of the future."
Placeholder Alt Text

This alternative Guggenheim Helsinki competition is challenging global luxury museum brands

Competition or PR stunt? That's up to you to decide, but there is no debate that the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition has provoked some interesting conversations around issues of the cultural institution in the globalized 21st century. On June 23, the Guggenheim will announce a winner, from the 1,715 official entries, all of which you can see here. However, the most interesting parts of the competition will probably be auxiliary to the building chosen on next Tuesday. In October 2014, the list was trimmed to a more manageable (and anonymous) six finalists. One of the spin-offs of the Helsinki competition is Next Helsinki, an alternative call-for-proposals that solicited new ideas about how the museum can bring its centrally located, waterfront site to life through the continuation of emergent urban trends. Rather than simply create another icon, Michael Sorkin explained on the website, organizers initiated the competition because of an “outrage at the march of the homogenizing multi-national brand culture emblematized by the imperial Guggenheim franchise—the cultural equivalent of Starbucks—was what launched us.” However, they also did it because they care about the city of Helsinki. “The feeling of love came from our mutual affection for Helsinki, from a sense that it is a singular place, unique in setting, form, and culture. Understanding the impetus to acquire a Guggenheim as a pursuit of the vaunted Bilbao effect, the idea that some gaudy global repository would put a tired place on the map, we wondered why a city so indelibly fixed in the urban firmament, so superb, would ant to surrender such a fabulous site to some starchitect supermarket,” Sorkin continued. For more on the Next Helsinki project, and to see the shortlisted projects, see their website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Guggenheim unveils new renderings & details for finalists in its Helsinki competition

Near the end of last year, the Guggenheim Foundation announced the six finalists in its global competition to design its new campus in Helsinki. That open call for ideas attracted more than 1,700 submissions that, when compiled together, created a dizzying array of architectural eye-candy. The basic idea behind the foundation’s unprecedented competition was to find an iconic, tourist-attracting design like Frank Gehry’s metallic creation in Bilbao. While the short-listed proposals are still only known by a number, the six firms vying for the career-changing commission have been made public; they are AGPS Architecture (Zurich, Los Angeles), Asif Khan (London), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, Barcelona, Sydney), Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart), Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris), and SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Western Australia). In the months since that announcement, these teams have been finalizing their schemes - and now the Guggenheim has unveiled new details and renderings for each one. The competition jury has also announced its 15 honorable mentions, along with the firms behind them. Members of the public will be able to interact with all of the designs at a Guggenheim-sponsored exhibit that opens this Saturday in Helsinki. Following the exhibit, the jury will select a winner, to be announced on June 23 – one year after the competition was launched. If you can’t make it to Helsinki for the exhibit, we’ve got the finalists, and the honorable mentions, right here.

GH-04380895

From the architects: "The design of the Guggenheim Helsinki and its woven landscape are based upon a sensitive and sympathetic approach to the context and nature of Helsinki. The fragmental design encourages people to flow within a new cultural core that is linked to the rest of the city, through the port promenade and the pedestrian footbridge to Tahtitorninvuori Park. This flexible access welcomes not only the visitors but also serves as a key cultural destination for the community."  
GH-1128435973
From the architects: "The project proposes two facilities that establish a dialog with each other – a museum made of two museums. The first museum is on the ground or tarmac level of the port facility. The existing terminal is re-used and re-appropriated for multiple activities. It is conceived as a public space, extending the pedestrian boardwalk into the building – a place for education and outreach within the city. The second museum is the museum as such, in so far as it houses exhibitions. The structure is in the air and hovers above the first. As a hall on stilts, partly removed from the everyday life below, the building offers a place of refuge, adhering to the notion of the museum as an 'other space.'"  
SUBMISSION GH-5059206475
From the architects: "31 Rooms reuses the laminated wood structure of the existing Makasiini terminal to rebuild a wooden volume that follows the exact geometry of the original building. The rest of the massing respects the maximum height of the old terminal and reproduce its profile ensuring that the current views from the park and the adjacent buildings are preserved."
GH-5631681770 
From the architects: "We propose a Strategy that could offer back to the City of Helsinki an Extra Space at no additional cost. An added value for the City that transcends traditional Exhibition Spaces. We propose an Interior Street, an additional un-programmed space, which is not included in the original brief, that open the building up to citizen’s appropriation, and allow it to remain structurally relevant through the present and well into the future. The Interior Street, an Extra City Space, proposes a set of Unique Spaces that contains an almost unlimited number of conditions and situations that Public Space could offer to present, to study, (re) contextualize, or even provoke the people that enters it, whatever form it takes."

GH-76091181

From the architects: "Adorning the waters edge. A cluster of slender timber towers provides a stunning addition to the city skyline. The sculptural form lends the Guggenheim a „Beacon-like“ appearance, attracting visitors arriving by land or sea. A majestic public place in the city. The towers are gathered around a soaring catheral-like central space, providing a unique home for public events on the waterfront."
  GH-121371443  
From the architects: "Our proposal takes the form of a Helsinki city block rotated to the harbour front. Helsinki city blocks in the 1800s were named after wild animals. The proposed new block will have the tactile familiarity of a pet’s fur. Six timber-clad galleries are stacked over two levels and flanked by a seventh for administration and retail. Public spaces are formed between these and an intelligent textured glass skin wrapping the entirety to precisely diffuse light, translucent below, and transparent above."
  The Honorable Mentions               
Placeholder Alt Text

December’s Top Five: Here’s what you read most on the AN Blog

With 2014 quickly receding into history, here's a look at what blog posts AN's readers clicked on most last month. Big international stories, many with starchitects attached, abounded in New York, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, and Rio de Janeiro. All of December's top stories point toward the future, with many under-construction projects that will be sure to dominate additional headlines this year. Here's a glimpse at what was in the news. 1. Here’s how Santiago Calatrava’s New York City transit hub got its enormous $4 billion price tag. With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. Read more. 2. Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Read more. renzo-piano-darth-vader-award 3. LA’s Westside Urban Forum hands Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor Darth Vader Awards. It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. Read more. 4. One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki. Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. Read more. Zaha_4 5. Zaha Hadid’s first Brazilian project ups the level of luxury on Rio’s beachfront. Zaha Hadid will lend her futuristic style to the strip along the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, with an 11-story luxury condo building, dubbed Casa Atlântica—the first project in Brazil for the London-based architect. Read more.
Placeholder Alt Text

One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki

Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. In a statement, the competition’s 11-member jury said it shortlisted these schemes because they would each “expand the idea of what a museum can be.” The teams that made the cut are AGPS Architecture (Zurich, Los Angeles), Asif Khan (London), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, Barcelona, Sydney), Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart), Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris), SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Western Australia). While the names of the teams have been unveiled, the six proposals are only known by individual registration numbers. Physical models of these plans will be produced in March and a single winner will be selected in June. But as AN reported earlier this fall, what happens next in Helsinki remains to be seen. This news comes as the Guggenheim makes a renewed push into the world of architecture. In November, the Foundation named Troy Conrad Therrien as its first-ever curator of Architecture & Digital Initiatives. He will likely play a significant role in the further rollout of this competition. You can read about the six finalists below, with descriptions courtesy of each team. For more on these proposals and what happens next, visit the competition's website. From the design team:
GH-76091181 comprises a ring of slender, sculptural towers faced with timber shingles, reminiscent of vernacular architecture, gathered around a cathedral-like central space. The towers, with their play of light and shadow, create an architectural beacon, visible by land or sea, while the central space, sheltered from extremes of weather yet part of the quayside, provides an exceptional new site for public events on the waterfront. Exhibition galleries are housed in timber cabinets stacked within the towers. Bridges connecting the towers offer respite space for visitors between experiencing art and offer new viewing points over the city and harbor.
From the design team:
GH-5631681770 reconfigures circulation and use of the East and West Harbors to establish an area of industrial activity and an area of cultural activity, with the museum as the link between the city and the waterfront. In a critical shift from the idea of a building as static object to a building that accommodates the flux of daily life, a city street runs through the interior of the museum, opening it to appropriation by the citizens and creating a combination of programs: a museum program and an unpredictable street program, in which visitors may become productive and creative users of the space.
From the design team:
GH-04380895 links the museum to the rest of the city through a pedestrian footbridge to Tähtitorninvuori Park and a promenade along the port, including a food hall and a market during the warm months. The museum programs are housed in pavilion-scale buildings treated as independent, fragmentary volumes within this landscape, allowing for a strong integration of outdoor display and event spaces with interior exhibition galleries. The ensemble is made to stand out from afar by being composed around a landmark tower. The use of charred timber in the facade evokes the process of regeneration that occurs when forests burn and then grow back stronger than before.
From the design team:
GH-121371443 drapes a skin of textured glass panels over a bar-like, two-story interior structure, creating an environmentally sustainable public space between the facade and the gallery volumes, with natural light diffused throughout. In an unusual innovation, the element that makes the building sustainable—the intelligent glass wrapper, which uses technology such as Nanogel glazing and rollable thermal shutters—is also the element that distinguishes the project visually, giving the building an ethereal presence. Within the building, an annex for the work of younger Nordic artists is paired with a market hall, and a service pavilion encloses a sculpture garden.
From the design team:
GH-1128435973 creates two facilities in dialogue with each other. The ground floor is an adaptive reuse of the existing Makasiini Terminal, conceived as a public space that extends the pedestrian boardwalk into the building. This is a place for education, civic activity, and incubating ideas. The second floor is an exhibition hall on stilts, which hovers above the terminal building, partly removed from everyday life. The long rectangular volume offers a flexible space for all types of exhibitions and adheres to the notion of a museum as a space apart. Through this dual scheme, the proposed museum could engage its public to co- create value and meaning.
 From the design team:
GH-5059206475 reuses the laminated wood structure of the Makasiini Terminal to rebuild a wooden volume that exactly follows the geometry of the original, and preserves the current views from the park and the adjacent buildings. Within this structure—essentially an undisturbed network of existing conditions—the project creates 31 rooms: eight of them measuring 20 x 20 m, 18 of them 6.5 x 6.5 m, four of them 10 x 10 m, and one 40 x 100 m. This rigid set of spatial conditions is combined with a deliberate distribution of climates based on the program and principles of sustainability, with each room acclimatized independently so that the galleries together form a 'thermal onion.'
Placeholder Alt Text

Slideshow> Proposals unveiled for Guggenheim’s planned Helsinki campus

As AN recently reported, the Guggenheim Foundation has unveiled more than 1700 proposals for its planned campus in Helsinki. All of these submissions have been kept anonymous and made available to the public through an online gallery which displays two renderings and a brief description for each plan. Given the amount of proposals the Guggenheim received, the gallery can be a little—let's say—hard on the eyes. If you're not up for scrolling through all of it, we picked out some interesting renderings that stood out to us. Yes, we undoubtedly missed some good ones in the process—there are 1,700 after all. If you're looking for Guggenheim's comprehensive list, head on over to the full gallery.
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> Take a secret peek inside the secret Guggenheim’s Helsinki competition room

As we’ve mentioned before, the biggest competition in town is not in the United States. Virtually every design firm in California and everywhere else has entered the competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki. Proposals were due on September 10, and Eavesdrop received a secret picture of the storeroom where they are being kept. Let’s just say it is FULL. There appears to be several hundred submissions. Only six of the proposals will advance to stage two of the competition, a list that will be announced later this fall. The winning entry will eventually be chosen next June. So stay tuned, there’s plenty of Guggenheim madness left! (And why doesn’t the Guggenheim open a branch in Los Angeles already?!)