- by NOMO Studio
The Sara Hilden Museum is to take a prominent location in the city of Tampere. In the heart of the upcoming Finlayson neighbourhood and creating a backdrop to the Finlayson Palace, the new art centre strengthens the transformation of the former industrial area into one of Finlands’ cultural hubs. Strategically located on Tampere’s city edge, and in a context of strong architectural heritage, the proposed building aims to become a powerful link between the city and the Finlayson park. Thus, its solid plinth invites locals and passer-bys to enjoy its 360º views over both the cityscape and the lush Finlayson gardens. This partially covered viewing platform establishes a visual connection that blurs and extends the cityedge. Its multiple sided function as sculpture park, public plateau, museum access and gathering point will attract visitors and bring the modern and contemporary culture scene closer to a wider public.
The new museum integrates seamlessly in the context of large and medium scale buildings, giving continuity to the existing balance between built and void and keeping a similar height to the surrounding architecture. The three storey volume creates an equilibrium with its counterpart block on the east side, the garden/spinning mill, leaving a well proportioned distance between both. This setback of both the plinth and the tower reinforce the clear sight to the Finlayson Palace from the access to the museum through the main pedestrian route of Itäinenkatu. The south side of the plot will remain unbuilt, except for the vertical connection to the P-Kunkku underground parking, covered with a manmade green hill. The roof of the museum’s technical facilities transforms itself into an urban plaza that hosts all the public services in a completely see through glazed space. This transparency is relevant both from the inside, but also from the outside and street level. Finally, the stepped hovering volume becomes an elegant and recognizable object easily identifiable as a museum.
The program is organized in a very clear and simple way, avoiding the division of functional units and so minimizing circulation areas. All technical facilities are located in the street level to facilitate the truck delivery into the loading bay. One level over, are all public services that give access to the exhibition spaces above. A central core with all vertical connections enables a very flexible layout with round circulation, especially desired for museum plans.
The three stories of exhibition offer varied rooms in height, size and illumination adapting perfectly to wide-ranging needs. The top floor, with its north oriented skylights allows a controlled use of natural daylight. Its 6-7.6m clear height and generous rooms of up to 200sqm is ideal for large-scale formats and sculpture. Sliding walls make it easily possible to change configurations. The two lower exhibition floors, with respectively 4,5m and 3,5 clear heights rely on artificial lighting and offer as well rooms of various sizes and proportions, always between 100-200sqm.
The user’s experience starts already from the outdoor access through the sculpture plaza and Tampere’s architectural heritage as a backdrop. The bright and inviting lobby, café and multifunctional area create a single open and flexible space around the core. A place to relax, meet and exchange before and after. The 3,5×7,5m lift catapults the visitor into the top floor where the most large and impressive exhibition rooms are to be found. The visit spirals around the core and down the spacious public stair through a series of art exhibits ranging from remarkable grand spaces to more intimate rooms.
30 bicycle parking spots have been located on the southern part of the plot and an additional 10 spots next to the staff entrance for administration and museum workers. Also on the south plot are the lifts to the public garage for visitors arriving by car. A drop-off zone is located on the east side of the museum, next to the main entrance and the lift. This space functions as well as a square or meeting point for larger groups. It is also from this side that the entrance for deliveries is located, with sufficient space for a large truck to safely maneuver. The loading platform is a non-insulated area that can be closed off when not in use. It is also from this space the technical room can be accessed for easy maintenance. The main entrance to the museum is located in the south east corner, opening up to the principal pedestrian flow arriving from the city centre. There is also an additional access possibility directly from the park into the museum if desired.
All materials used in the project are solid, durable and with low maintenance. The walls and roof (access level) of the plinth are cladded with a local granite stone. The pavement on the exhibition rooms is made of solid planks of local oak, a resistant wood that can bear heavy loads. Double reinforced gypsum boards clad inner walls for securely hanging art pieces. While the top floor ceiling follows the saw-shaped skylight roof, the other two floors have a mesh hanging ceiling for easy maintenance of installations and flexible lighting.
The façade finishing of the upper volume is a corrugated metal sheet with a growing wave amplitude for each floor. The light grey granite gives the museum a solid urban base in contrast with the light metallic top that reflects and blends with its surroundings. The façade takes the colors from the buildings and the rich vegetation next to it, thus changing its character as one moves around it and blurring the border between city and park. The corrugated metal facade is a gesture of accomplice to the industrial history of the Finlayson area and specifically to Tampere’s notoriety for its former textile and metal industry. Modernized urban integration results from not imitating the nearby old brick factories, however using a highly industrialized material with elegant and thought-through finishings. The wavy sheets wrap around Tampere’s new museum as a large-scale shimmering curtain.
The proposal follows a simple system of concrete bearing walls around the central core and recycled steel columns on its perimeter. Timber-concrete composite slabs will be used in order to handle heavy loads. Where concrete is necessary (fire and load requirements) only low carbon cement will be used, while the rest of walls will be based on a highlyinsulated balloon-frame wooden structure.
To minimize climate impact the project will: 1) Define clear targets within Tampere’s sustainable road map. 2) Fix a “carbon budget” and follow it up throughout the project. 3) Preserve as much as possible. 4) Minimize use of materials and energy demand. 5) Choose materials and energy sources with low climate impact.
With Tampere’s ambitious sustainability goals in mind, the new museum will have a clear strategy to be implemented on 4 levels.
Passive strategy: Aiming to reduce yearly peak loads and energy demands, by having a compact building envelope, well insulated facade, control of direct sunlight thanks to a low solid-glazed ratio, and backset windows to create natural shadings. North oriented skylights enable the use of natural light as the primary source for the top floor exhibition. Active strategy: Controlled artificial light with dimmable LEDs, CO2 sensors to define how much air is needed depending on the amount of people, ventilation system with heat exchanger to pre-heat the cold air in the winter and reversed in the summer.
Renewable energies: solar panels on the roof Green ratio of 0.7: Green roof, integrated greenery in the wide sidewalks around the building and a manmade green hill on the south plot. All trees around the perimeter of the plot have been preserved.
architect: NOMO Studio | team: Alicia Casals, Karl Nyqvist, Gonzalo de la Parra, Mira Botseva, Jennifer Mendez | clients: Sara Hilden Foundation, City of Tampere | status: Competition (2021) | competition: Sara Hildén Art Museum | location: Tampere, Finland (61.502100, 23.756550) | climate: Continental, Temperate | materials: metal, concrete | environments: Park, Old town | visualizer: Studio | scale: 4.670 m2 medium | types: cultural, museum | views: 755