Vast number of submissions received for Finnish Guggenheim competition
An open, international competition to design the new home of the Guggenheim in Helsinki has received a staggering number of entries. 1,715 submissions were received from graduate and qualified architects bidding for the project, surpassing the 1,557 figure amassed in the 2002 competition for the Grand Egyptian Museum and the design competition for the Helsinki Central Library, which received 544 entries.
The competition invited architects to pitch ‘innovative and creative designs’ incorporating strong connections to the city centre, South Harbor, and local context. Nordic ideals were also stated in the brief as being of strong importance and the use of Finnish wood was suggested. The €130m building is due to span approximately 12,100 sq m on an 18,520 sq m site, with 4,000 sq m of exhibition space.
The museum building will also include a flexible performance hall, educational space, a large café/bar, a smaller formal restaurant, administrative offices, practitioner spaces, collections storage, a retail store, and other facilities. Outdoor spaces for the display of sculpture and projects are also due to be incorporated.
Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation said: “When we launched the competition for the design of the proposed Guggenheim Helsinki, we hoped that it would inspire architects everywhere - emerging and established alike - to imagine what the museum of the twenty-first century could be and catalyze a global exchange of ideas about architecture and its traditions, urbanism, public buildings, and the future of cities. We are awed and humbled by the tremendous response to the call for entries, and we look forward to engaging in a full and public exploration of the submissions in the coming months.”
The 1,715 submissions will be judged anonymously by a panel of eleven judges this November, with a shortlist of six entries due to be released to the media on 2 December. The names of the six shortlisted individuals or practices will be released but it will not be stated which architect generated which design. A winner will be revealed in June 2015 and will receive a prize fund of €100,000. The five shortlisted teams will each receive €55,000.
An alternative design competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki site is also being held with a submission deadline of 2 March 2015. The competition website states: “The Guggenheim Foundation has launched a design competition on one of Helsinki’s most valuable and compelling physical sites for a new Guggenheim building, in hopes of a transformation akin to the “miracle” in Spain [Bilbao]. The City of Helsinki is tempted to spend hundreds of millions of municipal euros in return for the benefits of the branding of the city with someone else’s mark. - Is this really the best use for the site and tax money?
“What if there was an alternative call for ideas - open to all - to rise to the challenge of imagining a richer future for the whole city? A ‘competition’ that takes as its starting points the existing structures and needs of the city itself? What if it could help Helsinki evolve as a more accessible, equitable, sustainable, and beautiful place? What if it could help develop beneficial cultural strategies that grow from the specifics of the local scene and from the needs of contemporary art practices? What if there were realizable alternatives to the trends of luxury branding, mono-culturization, top-down decision-making processes and privatization of common goods?
“Help us seize this opportunity to highlight the city’s singularity, and its residents’ appetite for social, environmental and cultural justice. We challenge you to send us your realistic, visionary and well researched ideas for the Next Helsinki!”