A symbol of Helsinki
The principal challenge was to create a visionary design which would satisfy the international agenda of the Guggenheim Foundation, while responding to the unique Helsinki context and the needs of its people.
The complex brief looked to combine traditional galleries with innovative exhibition space on a prominent waterfront site in the city centre. It was important to be able to support major travelling exhibitions as well as create a platform to engage local people and promote Nordic art and design to a wider audience.
Connecting people, ideas and cultures
We created a unique spectacle in which to engage with world class art; that would resonate with both the people of Helsinki and international visitors. The design concept was driven by the maritime setting and the Helsinki Archipelago, a unique collection of 315 islands extending away from the heart of the city into the Gulf of Finland. Conceived as a composition of islands, the building form is sculpted to frame important views and strengthen the link between the city, the port and the sea. Each ‘island’ creates a unique gallery space defined by distinct, curving, top-lit domes.
A series of nodes and bridges joins the pebble like forms together, acting as an extension of the gallery and further connecting people, ideas and cultures.
Above, the undulating roof-scape creates a spectacular public realm acting as an extension of the adjacent park and connects back into the wider city. Visitors can enjoy the magnificent views towards the Archipelago Sea, the Port of Helsinki and Uspenski Cathedral.
In contrast to the white bulbous exterior, a timber skin envelopes the interior. This dual skin creates a cavity within which light and ventilation can be meticulously controlled. Large white surfaces within the peaks create a backdrop for installations and maximise available light in the long winter months.