guggenheim: helsinki

Architecture has created the demarcation of importance since man built his first home thousands of years ago. Historically significant locations are speckled with imaginative structures that depict the innovative brilliance of minds throughout time, and Helsinki, Finland, is no stranger to neither history nor innovation. The competition site is placed in the center of the historical city, facing a magnificent harbor that services millions of people each year. The location is ripe with young minds that feed on the nature of the city and thrive off what each building has to offer to Helsinki's cultural experience. 

Our proposal intends to strengthen the community's presence within the city and contribute to the deeply rooted historical surroundings of the harbor. The proposed building will draw precedents from the adjacent architectural typologies and warp the established design ideals into a contemporary example of historical architecture. The concept driving the design starts with the people of Helsinki, and the introduction of the community into rigid architectural structures. The proposed building will act as a social gathering zone, creating a new node of importance within the urban fabric of the city while respecting the historical skyline. 

The proposed design takes an orthogonal rectangle with an interior courtyard and breaks the rigidity of the shape, allowing the public to freely move in and about the structure. Two opposite corners of the rectangle are pushed upward and downward respectively, forming a continuous avenue from the city, through the site, and onto the waterfront. 

The courtyard then becomes an open public forum and gathering space, creating paths and passageways through the site without ever impeding the natural pedestrian flow of the community. 

The introduction of the sphere marks the entry while simultaneously disrupting the earth, displacing the land and shaping the site work around the building. The sphere crashes into the site, forging a rippled effect of the surrounding land, which begins to form seating areas, outdoor gallery exhibit locations, public gathering spaces, and vehicular access to the intended locations of the building. The natural elements of the public space also become a living part of the building proposal. As the rectangle splays upward and downward, it acts as a displaced piece of land forced upward by the impeding sphere, shaping views and creating a traversable green roof for the patrons of the museum and community. 

The concept for the interior of the building is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's New York Guggenheim. Through a series of ramps, visitors are able to fully traverse the various exhibit spaces, each one having a unique progression through the artwork. The exterior walls are solid to protect the artwork from sunlight, while the interior walls are fully transparent with strategic shading in order to experience the exterior courtyard with different views and vantage points of the building and the city. The new building is meant to be viewed as a piece art that has skillfully morphed with its surroundings and put a twist on the regimented historical architecture of the city.