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Preview: This is the world’s next iconic museum

guggenheim-helsinki-finalist
Courtesy of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Looking for the next Guggenheim design is a monumental task.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Guggenheim museums around the world are known for their provocative architecture created by renowned figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Guggenheim in New York, and Frank Gehry, who designed the museums in Bilbao and Abu Dhabi. (The foundation’s Venice museum is housed in an 18th-century palazzo.)

For a planned fifth museum bearing its name in Helsinki, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation launched an international architectural competition this past June. The contest was open to anyone with a professional degree in architecture, and out of 1,715 anonymous submissions from 77 countries, six concepts were selected by an 11-member jury and announced on Dec. 2nd.

Supporters hope Helsinki will experience the “Guggenheim effect” that Spain’s Bilbao did, which turned the town into a tourism hotspot. But there has been considerable backlash to the museum plan, with critics calling it a “vanity project,” and even a counter-competition seeking homegrown alternative ideas for the waterfront site. Some have also criticized the massive size of the competition, saying it undervalues the work of the many architects from around the world who submitted detailed proposals.

The Helsinki competition’s jury looked at various criteria, including how the museum, expected to cost 130 million euros (about $160 million), could create a “vital, meaningful, public and intellectual presence” and how it would complement the existing architecture of Finland’s capital. Now the finalists are furthering their design ideas for the next stage of the competition. The verdict is expected in June 2015.

The Guggenheim release a list of the finalist firms: AGPS Architecture, Asif Khan, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Haas Cook Zemmrich Studio2050, Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, and SMAR Architects. But it withheld the information about which firm submitted which design. Here are the six concepts, labeled by registration number:

Finalist: GH-76091181

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The towers in this design make the museum an architectural beacon from both land and water.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Construction techniques and materials would have local influence.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The towers create cathedral-like public spaces on the waterfront.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
They also tower above the city’s existing skyline.

Finalist: GH-5631681770

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
This design tries to reconfigure the use of Helsinki’s East and West Harbors to establish two areas: one for industrial activity, the other a cultural space.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The design proposes using pre-fabricated building systems to reduce construction costs and increase thermal performance.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Seeing the museum as not just a physical space but an experience, the designers proposed an “Interior Street” that would connect the building to the public.

Finalist: GH-04380895

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
This design, with its charred timber façade, echoes the process of regeneration that occurs when forests burn and then grow back stronger, according to designers.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The building is designed to let a lot of warming sunlight enter the building throughout the year.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The exhibition spaces create passageways that allow free movement for visitors.

Finalist: GH-12137144

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Because Helsinki’s city blocks in the 1800s were named after wild animals, these designers want to give the new museum the tactile familiarity of animal’s fur.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The ground floor galleries merge into one larger space, and one of the two staircases would also be used for film screenings.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The museum would be connected to other key landmarks and city buildings, with pedestrian and transportation routes feeding into the site.

Finalist: GH-112843597

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The jury appreciated this design’s low form and pronounced silhouette.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
This proposal promises to use renewable, locally sourced wood and harbor water for heating and cooling.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
This proposal offers a ”two-in-one museum,” one is for exhibitions, and the other a public space for students, scholars, and amateurs.

Finalist: GH-505920647

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
This architecture responded well to the cityscape and materials of currently existing buildings, according to the jury.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
This plan wold ”rebuild a wooden volume that follows the exact geometry of the original building,” according to designers.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Following other iconic Guggenheim designs, this plan would continue in the tradition of radical exteriors.

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