The Guggenheim Museum is a unique project located in a distinct area of the city harbour in the very centre of Helsinki. Its role is meant to be significant in terms of cultural activity, public space and urban structure.
Therefore the design required both inventing an unusual way of presenting art, as well as finding a method to create interaction between the city and the building.
The idea behind this project is to lift art above the city. This creates an isolated space for contemplating art that remains in constant contact with the landscape. The possibility to observe Finnish art in the context of Finnish infinite landscape is a unique experience that will make the visit to the Guggenheim Museum unforgettable.
The concept of a tower allowed to design a sequence of galleries, each of them open towards a different part of Finland's panorama – thus exposing alternately the sea, the harbour, the city and the landscape. Each exposition room is slightly modified to create space for terraces – viewing points and places for a break between different storeys.
All exhibition modules differ in shape and height, providing a set of possibilities for different kinds of arrangements. The variety of interiors may help to emphasize different types of art and to diversify its ambience – very low and flat rooms in contrast with very high and spacious ones create an interesting, vertical path through the museum.
The tower consists of 9 blocks – the first one is an entrance block, the next 7 modules are the galleries and the last one is a café with an access to the roof terrace. A rooftop platform with an open view may be the final part of the museum tour, as well as the start of a sightseeing tour of Helsinki.
The location of the Guggenheim Tower is the waterfront of the South Harbour in Helsinki. The closest context for the building are clear, horizontal lines – the harbour embankment, the escarpment of the Tahititornin Vuori Park and the skyline of the city. A contrasting, vertical line in the waterfront of Finland's capital may become a new, recognizable sign in its panorama.
A landmark in a place where the city emerges from nature is a natural, urban solution for arranging the views towards the city. As the first object on the route from Olympia terminal to the city centre, the building becomes a gate – a welcome sign for guests. It may serve as a viewing tower for the visitors – observing the city from above could help them to understand and learn its structure
The space in the tower is dedicated only for functions connected directly with the museum (entrance hall, galleries, rooms for collection storage and management, café ). All additional functions (conference hall, stores, restaurant, offices) are located in neighbouring buildings. These buildings form a square between themselves. The square, viewing the sea, is the heart of the complex and may be used to organize events, outer exhibitions, concerts or outdoor cinema.
Adding a ground floor level designed as a mix of functions may help to redefine the area of South Harbour Port as a lively public space. Dividing the Guggenheim Museum into 3 buildings, all of them of a small outline leaves the space around for public activity and makes it more accessible.
Tickets are not necessary for visiting the museum café thanks to the lift, which directly links the entrance and the last floor. That is why the rooftop terrace is also a public space available to all.