Guggenheim Helsinki
Architect: Ulargui Arquitectos
Status: Competition (2014)
Visualizer: Studio
Scale: 12.100 ㎡ Large
Types: Cultural, Museum

Just a membrane

We think that it is the moment to offer a museum that connects people, to really extend the art to the outside, to break the distance between the city and the museum, to think in a real open-building. There must be a slim line between the interior and the exterior, the minimum as possible, and this “complex line” must be the image of the project. On the sea front, between the port facilities, it will merge a big vase of glass as an offering for the city. How to define it in terms of sustainability without losing a remarkable image is the challenge of our proposal.

Linking the city

We propose a platform at 9.10 m between the port and the Tähtitornin Vuori park. It will be able to walk from the park to the museum through a new pedestrian link, placed on the same level as the platform and above Laivasillan road. Below the platform we set the Port vehicles roadway, the new port terminal, the conference hall, the parking, the offices, the kitchen and the maintenance and operation area. This layout allows them to separate from the exhibition area, enjoying private access, either pedestrian or by car. They also give new urban activity in Laivasillan road, taking advantage of the new port terminal.

The most flexible exhibition areas

The exhibition areas are inspired in the port facilities. A long volume of wood situated in the centre of the plot that contains the main part of controlled areas. This big volume is conceived as a continuous space for the exhibition. In the middle of the ground floor, linked with the Port vehicles roadway and enjoying easy delivery areas, we set the Collections storage and management area. In the platform level there is a mobile slab system, understood as a group of slabs that can be translated according of the space requirements. There are not any pillars inside. Notice we don’t want to allocate these areas. They are simply divided in differing heights, from 5.00 m to 16.60. Groups of panels, doors, elevators and stairs will provide the ability to change these areas according to the needs of the building. The space is wrapped with a thick camera that includes all the utilities. Groups of shutters permit open views of the harbour, creating a flexible and dynamic façade. Different doors (with its own security control) will be able to divide the area in different exhibitions. This strategy includes the multipurpose zone, conceived as a big veranda in the middle of the box looking at the sea, but this space could also be used for a great exhibition.

A new social area

If the interior of the box represents the pure needs of the building, between the membrane and the box we have created a big camera. The box is wrapped with an intermediate space that contains parts of the program directly connected with the exhibition and that could be rethought in another way. The design store, the restaurant, the cafeteria, the reception, the ticket and information desk, the lockers, the classroom, the toilets, etc, will be placed in this area conceived as a city extension, as an controlled open-air space. It could be opened in another schedule, another security control, and offers more free possibilities to be used. Maybe it could host a temporal market, a public performance, an outside exhibition, or be understood as a covered and pre-heated space to be visited in the cold winters of the city.


The section is conceived by a heating gradient control, wrapping the most demanding heating spaces with different cameras. This means that you can reduce the energy consumption rationalizing the temperature control. We keep the exhibition areas at 22º±2.5º, protecting it with a thick wall that includes parts of the electrical system, sunlight protection, a heating control and a glass façade. Around this building there is another camera. It can oscillate in the summer with 22º±5º and in winter with 16º±5º. It is an intermediate space among the cold temperatures of Helsinki and the requirements of a modern museum. The program placed in this area can be heated more specifically according to their needs. Under the building there is a camera that takes advantage of the geothermal energy. It creates a natural thermodynamic air movement between different parts of the building. Wood for the interior box, glass for the façades, all the construction system will be pre-fabricated, with a high quality construction control and an accurate feasibility.

Competition: Guggenheim Helsinki | Post date: 10/02/2015 | Views: 3.435