Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Images

The exterior of the museum suggests the shape of boats that navigate the harbor. The lines are clean and strong with an open simplicity that elevates the functionality of maritime life to aesthetic form. Walls of glass along the length of the building on the water side offer an exterior elegance and hint of the flow of the interior space. The building is anchored at each end with solid brick elements. An echo of a boat’s bridge rises above the museum’s seaward end, housing the Makasiini Port Terminal on the first level, a cafe/bar on the second level and a formal dining room at the roof level; a separate entrance enables operation when museum is closed. A sculpture roof garden at the north end is accessed from the ends of the southern galleries.

Exterior materials of brick, teak columns, decking, panels and sloped ceilings edged with bronze points accentuate the aesthetic of the building while providing resilience in the maritime environment.

Under an entry portal echoing the roofs above, museum visitors enter past a large sculpture garden at the southern end of the site. Inside, the space is a flow of water and light from end to end. Sunlight entering from above reflects from the sloping plaster ceilings of the monitors and off the light birch sloping ceilings of the galleries. Direct sunlight is blocked by the monitors. This creates a diffuse, warm, natural glow. Offering homage the seasons, a unique system of pools on the roof adds the reflection of sun on water to the indirect light entering the galleries; in winter this reflection is from snow and ice. LED lighting is used throughout the museum for artificial lighting. LED strips at the monitor’s glass edges create an exterior lighting effect during darkness and can offer multiple colors to enliven the building when dark.

Multiple sliding wood panels enable different sizes and functions for galleries. The bi-fold swinging wood panels at each end of the gallery area can be opened to create a see-through space from the park to the ocean. Galleries have the feel of fine Finnish furniture, elegant in line and detail and accented by bronze. Direct access is provided from galleries to sculpture gardens on the exterior. The operable panels can block off the views through glass walls, while sliding pocket doors at the ends of each gallery are designed to close off space for setting up new shows.

The Performance Hall has adjustable separate seating levels allowing for flat or teared seating; a stage may be centered or placed at the end. This room is lit from above with typical light monitors and blackout shades to darken the room.

The energy system for the museum will make use of the Helsinki central heating system. The building uses all sustainable materials and is green in nature, with insulated walls and solar panels on the roofs. The roof structure plenums provide a space for all ducting, electrical and plumbing.