Competition 2014

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To create an exemplary museum of the twenty-first century and an internationally recognized symbol of Helsinki, the architectural approach of this project is to create a spectacular non icon, a building that claims to step back with its own expression and at the same time being extraordinary and highly symbolic for Helsinki and Finland. A thrilling mirror plane, that reflects the city and its monuments, framing Helsinki in infinite ways, is not just a big spectacle, but also is always in direct dialogue with the city and the people. Timeless and never outdated, in sensitive relation to the existing, it changes with the dynamic of Helsinki itself.


With a small footprint, the building rises at the end of the site. This urban gesture gives space for a huge public, sloping plaza, a city terrace. Defining the south harbor towards the working port, at the same time doubling the waterfront in a conceptual way. Like the other monuments of Helsinki, especially Helsinki Cathedral, the building elevates to a height above the urban fabric, to start a dialogue with not only its direct surroundings, but with the whole city; still appearing just as a slim slab, not blocking any views from and to the hilltop in the Tahititornin Vuori park.


The public plaza as continuation of the waterfront promenade is a place that connects the public and the art and ar- tists, a symbiosis of a public venue and a outdoor gallery. This civic space, to gather and socialize, directly leads into the museum‘s open ground floor wich also inhabits the bar on the water front side. With large swing doors opening to the plaza, it can be attached or divided for events, lectures or vernissages, as well as giving a glimpse of the interior while approaching the building.


The building itself acts as container for art, with neutral, flexible spaces to give possibilities for the newest curatorial ideas, supporting and highlighting the exhibited art; the building itself becomes infrastructure for art.

The serving functions and spaces are pushed towards the port side of the building being expressed on the outside in a vertical extrusion, giving space in between the smooth front and the kinked, folded back for the gallery and public functions which are connected by the main circulation, a wooden void, the warm heart of the building.

Unified by a stainless steel facade, which is polished in the front, creating the reflection and being left raw towards the port, the building becomes a gem on the waterfront, an icon of Helsinki.