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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Guggenheim Museum – Open Architectural Competition

By Team IAnD
Photography: Tuomas Uusheimo


Site for proposed new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki
Waterfront view including the competition site from the Market Square, looking south

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation formally calls for entries to its open international architectural competition for the design of a new proposed Guggenheim museum in Helsinki.

This is the first time that the Guggenheim Foundation, long recognized for commissioning transformational works of architecture, has sought a design through an open competition. It is embarking on this new course in one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in Europe, located at the intersection of East and West and respected internationally for its heritage of modern architecture and design. The firm or team selected through this competition will take its place in the lineage of both Helsinki, as exemplified by renowned architects such as Alvar Aalto and Eliel Saarinen, and of the Guggenheim, with its landmark buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry and first-of-its-kind carbon-fiber structure by Atelier Bow-Wow created for the BMW Guggenheim Lab. 

Site for proposed new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki
Competition site from Market Square, looking south

The keenly anticipated two-stage competition is expected to draw submissions from a wide range of firms and individuals - emerging and internationally famous - from Finland and around the world.

The proposed museum is to be located on city-owned land in the southwestern part of Helsinki’s magnificent South Harbor. The site, which is rich and varied as a cultural and environmental setting, poses potentially productive technical challenges to architects and structural engineers, who also must address the high expectations and lively opinions of the citizens.

Site for proposed new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki
Elevated view of the competition site from Restaurant Palace building, looking southeast

The proposed museum building would occupy 12,100 sq. m. of a total 18,520 sq. m. and would include approx. 4,000 sq. m. of exhibition space, making its galleries comparable in size to those of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The building’s total anticipated construction value is €130 M, excluding taxes.

“It is essential to the Guggenheim’s mission to engage directly with people throughout the world, to affirm the transformative potential of art, and to fuse the experience of contemporary art with great architecture,” stated Mr. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “This competition advances all of those goals, with the aim of inspiring an exemplary museum of the twenty-first century that is also a meaningful addition to the landscape of Helsinki.”

Site for proposed new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki
Competition site from Tähtitornin vuori park, looking northeast
Competition Schedule:
Stage One: Competition open to architects from June 4 to September 10, 2014.

Jury:  will comprise an 11-member team chaired by Mark Wigley, professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.  Six Finalists will be shortlisted

Judging Criteria: Architectural design; relationship to the site and the citiscape; practicality for users; sustainability (including criteria for the use of materials); and feasibility.

An online exhibition will enable the public to view all entries in Stage One, with special prominence given to thirty highest-rated submissions.

In November 2014, the Guggenheim will announce the finalists and Stage Two of the competition will begin. Shortlisted individuals or firms will have until March 2015 to make their submissions. The jury will meet again in Helsinki to judge the final entries. The Guggenheim will announce the winner in June 2015.

The winner of the competition will be awarded €100,000 and the five runner-ups will each receive €55,000.

The City of Helsinki and the State of Finland are expected to deliberate on whether to proceed with the construction and development of the museum after the competition concludes.


For further information, the public and interested architects are invited to visit the competition website: designguggenheimhelsinki.org. 

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