Moreau Kusunoki's 'art in the city' scheme wins Guggenheim Helsinki design competition

The firm’s design concept makes use of the museum’s site, turning it into a bustling, well-connected waterfront hub.

June 23, 2015 |
Museum, Guggenheim, Helsinki, Moreau Kusunoki, Art in the City

“The waterfront, park, and nearby urban area all have a dialogue with the loose cluster of pavilions, with people and activities flowing between them,” said jury chair Mark Wigley in a statement. Renderings courtesy Moreau Kusunoki Architectes

It’s been a little more than a year since the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation launched an open, international competition for the design of a proposed Guggenheim in Helsinki, back on June 7, 2014. Today, the foundation announced that the winning design—selected from more than 1,700 entries—is the one by Parisian firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes.

Midway through the competition, the jury narrowed the field down to six finalists and released the designs to the public while the firms behind them were kept anonymous. A campaign encouraged the public to vote for their favorite by using a specially engineered appthat matched a user’s personality with a building design.

The winning design by Moreau Kusunuki “invites visitors to engage with museum artwork and programs across a gathering of linked pavilions and plazas organized around an interior street,” according to a Guggenheim Foundation statement.

Locally sourced charred timber and glass will clad the exterior. The entire building is composed of nine low-lying volumes and one lighthouse-like tower. A nearby observatory park will be connected to the museum by a pedestrian footbridge.

“Moreau Kusunoki has titled its proposal ‘Art in the City,’ a name that sums up the qualities the jury admired in the design,” said jury chair Mark Wigley, professor and dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. “The waterfront, park, and nearby urban area all have a dialogue with the loose cluster of pavilions, with people and activities flowing between them. The design is imbued with a sense of community and animation that matches the ambitions of the brief to honor both the people of Finland and the creation of a more responsive museum of the future."

 

The winning firm, with Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki seated second from left and center

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