Guggenheim finalists announced

Tuesday 02 Dec 2014

Six anonymous submissions move forward in Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

A shortlist of six teams has been released for the Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki Design Competition hosted by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Selected from 1,715 submissions, the six shortlisted designs have been left anonymous, however the names of the successful teams have been released (in no particular order):

AGPS Architecture Ltd. (Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, United States of America)
Asif Khan Ltd. (London, United Kingdom)
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, United States of America; Barcelona, Spain; and Sydney, Australia)
Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart, Germany)
Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris, France)
SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Spain and Western Australia)

Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said: “As we saw from the unprecedented response to Stage One of the competition, this open, independent process has brought to Helsinki exciting, innovative design ideas from all over the world. The jury has chosen six deeply thoughtful design approaches, each of which opens extraordinary possibilities for a Guggenheim in Helsinki and asks us to imagine what a museum of the future can be.

“We are excited to see the finalists develop the potential of their visionary designs further, and we thank everyone who has contributed to this conversation so far - from the 1,715 competitors who created engaging and diverse submissions to the 200,000 people who have visited the competition website.”

The design statements for each of the shortlisted entries read as follows, (see images clockwise from top left):

GH-76091181 comprises a ring of slender, sculptural towers faced with timber shingles, reminiscent of vernacular architecture, gathered around a cathedral-like central space. 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.

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.

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.

GH-121371443 drapes a skin of textured glass panels over a bar-like, two-storey interior structure, creating an environmentally sustainable public space between the facade and the gallery volumes, with natural light diffused throughout. In an unusual innovation, this glass element that makes the building sustainable 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.

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.

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. 

The finalist teams will be invited to view the proposed waterfront site in January 2015 before submitting physical models in March 2015. A winner will be revealed in June 2015 and will receive €100,000 prize money. The runners up will receive €50,000 each.

An alternative design competition for the site has been in action since September 2014, inviting entrants to envision a future project for Helsinki that focuses on local context and respect for the urban fabric. The concept must ‘fully meet the city’s cultural, spatial and sustainability needs’ and the deadline is 2 March 2015. The competition is currently live via WAN’s Business Information Service and submissions will be published and exhibited internationally. 

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