The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, which began in June 2014 and generated a record-making 1,715 submissions from more than 77 countries, reached its conclusion today, as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced the winning concept: a design that invites visitors to engage with museum artwork and programs across a gathering of linked pavilions and plazas organized around an interior street.
Clad in locally sourced charred timber and glass, the environmentally sensitive building would comprise nine low-lying volumes and one lighthouse-like tower, connected to the nearby Observatory Park by a new pedestrian footbridge and served by a promenade along Helsinki’s South Harbor. The Guggenheim revealed that the design, which was one of six finalists, was submitted by Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, a firm founded in Paris in 2011.
“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. Rarely has such a concentration of architectural intelligence been directed at a single design
Nearly two thousand designers from around the world turned their thoughts to the future of Helsinki’s South Harbor and the possibilities of a museum for the twenty-first century. By making these competition entries available online, we also have contributed an unprecedented volume of design information that is now freely available for study and use. For this reason, while the design competition has now ended, we are confident that its contribution to architectural discourse and the public imagination has only just begun.”
Jury chair Mark Wigley, professor and dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, announced the decision of the competition’s 11-member international jury at a press conference held at the Palace, a landmark of 20th-century modernism that overlooks the site of the proposed museum on Helsinki’s South Harbor.
“Moreau Kusunoki has titled its proposal ‘Art in the City,’ a name that sums up the qualities the jury admired in the design,” Wigley said. “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.”
Cover image credits: “Art in the City” © Moreau Kusunoki
READ ALSO: THE ARTIFICIAL SNOW CAVE HUT / MARGOT KRASOJEVIC