Eclectic designs from six architectural firms are named finalists in Guggenheim Helsinki competition

Expanding the idea of what a museum can be is a unifying theme of these concepts.

December 08, 2014 |
Finalist: GH-121371443. Rendering: Malcolm Reading Consultants

An 11-member jury representing the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has selected six finalists, from a record-breaking 1,715 submissions, in the contest to design Guggenheim Helsinki in Finland’s capital.

In order to maintain the integrity of the selection process, the names of the finalists won’t be matched with their respective designs (which were submitted anonymously) until next June, when the winner will be announced. The competition allows the finalists to fine-tune their designs up through March 2015.

The finalists are:

• AGPS Architecture Ltd., with offices in Zurich and Los Angeles

• Asif Khan Ltd., in London

• Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, with offices in New York, Barcelona, and Sydney

• Haas Cook Zemmrick STUDIO2050, in Stuttgart

• Moreau Kusunoki Architect, in Paris

• SMAR Architecture Studio, in Madrid and Western Australia

The winning design will be awarded the equivalent of $136,000, and each of the five runners-up will recive $75,000.

In the jury’s statement, its chairman, Mark Wigley, a professor and dean emeritus at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, noted that each finalist “offers a distinctive and original way to create new public space for Helsinki, and each challenges the Guggenheim to develop unprecedented models of museum planning.” 

The jury shared some observations about what it liked about each design, and what it was less enamored of:

Entry GH-04380895 was singled out for the way it grouped its pavilions that blended into the city’s fabric, and how it used natural light. The jury was “skeptical” about this design’s roofscape, as well as the placement and size of galleries.


GH-1128435973 was praised for its “internal flexibility and external effect.” Its low form yet pronounced silhouette “was considered particularly interesting.”


GH-121371443 was lauded for its “simple but extraordinary” design that integrated image and technology. However, the jury felt its internal program was “too diagrammatic.” 


GH-5059206475, whose design is based on an old store house and uses materials from existing buildings, “creates close relationships with its surrounding.”


GH-5631681770 pays particular attention to public space, and the potential exhibition spaces “were considered authentic.” The jury liked the design’s “non-stereotypical” approach.


GH-76091181 uses timber elegantly, and includes a “memorable” courtyard design “with circuits of independent galleries.” But the jury questioned the use of lifts as well as the galleries’ configurations.

For more, read ArchDaily's report.

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