Location: Helsinki,Finland
Project Area: 20000sqm
Competition Organizer: Helsinki City Council

Helsinki’s Soul Helsinki’s Soul evokes Helsinki’s strong connection between city and nature. It stands as a welcoming landmark and strengthens the waterfront’s character, while blending in with the city. In addition, this proposal explores the concept of a ‘museum of the future’ by defining ‘a museum of its place ’. It is about attracting visitors from the Nordic countries, as well as a wider international audience. Inspired by Contemporary Nordic Architecture, the volume is simple and iconic. It highlights the concepts of transparency and sharing, by breaking down the barriers between the museum building and public space, and by creating a showcase for Helsinki’s real soul: people. Two major notions have been considered during concept design, in order to interrelate the aims mentioned above.

1/ Identity; ‘City experience’ vs. Symbolic values (of the building)

2/ Museum for visitors (new, regular, local) *

Using the distinctive Helsinki experience, this proposal goes beyond the symbolic values of the museum building in order to re-define the relationship between the museum architecture, its content, and its audience. We believe that Guggenheim Helsinki must act as a dynamic permanent exhibition in the Finnish capital, where new visitors not only interact with international /local art and design, but also experience Helsinki’s everyday life, culture, fashion, etc. Also, Helsinki’s Soul celebrates the diversity of its audiences by generating different layers of experience and meaningful interconnection between new, regular and local visitors (passers-by). For new visitors, the museum provides places of discovery and serendipity, while for the local audience, it plays an even more important role; becoming a part of ’urban everyday life’ and of ‘city experience’. The museum offers two entrances; one that serves as a smooth transition between the city and sea for local and regular visitors; the other for new visitors arriving at the city’s port terminal. The entrance for the locals -a cylindrical hole in the middle of the volume -provides a panoramic view to the museum’s circular atrium and the sea. This urban plaza -or what we call ‘the Folk Gallery’-acts as an extension of public space to invite the city to flow into the museum’s heart. This creates a place to see and be seen. Making different activities accessible according to the changing seasons (e.g. ice–skating, outdoor theater), ‘The Folk Gallery’, sheds a light on the long, dark Nordic winters and on ways everyone can enjoy wintertime, for example. The volume creates a sympathetic skylight and accommodates flexible and multi-purpose spaces for visual, experimental and multi-media exhibitions, as well as permanent collections. Additionally, the urban surface is embedded within the interior of Helsinki’s Soul, forming an urban amphitheater with a spectacular vista of the city landscape. * New visitors: local/international tourists, first time visitors Regular visitors: people who participate in educational courses, researchers, artists, etc. Local visitors: passers-‐by, people enjoying the museum’s public space