Client: National Museum of Finland
Status: Competition (2019)
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Coordinates: 60.175466, 24.930801
Climate: Continental, Temperate
Scale: 3.000 ㎡ Medium
Types: Cultural, Museum
Sometimes an absence can be stronger than the most iconic of the shapes. As silence can be more evident than a loud noise or a word that is expected. The new national museum extension tries to be invisible and iconic at the same time.
In the last century decades of extensions have been built, with the most different and original forms and materials. The challenge of the project is to find a new paradigm to reactivate an institution, starting from reading its structure, its activities, and integrating them to the city.
The concept starts from the idea of courtyards: the structure and backbone of the existing museum. The voids in the volume are its most important parts, organizing the interior orientation and bringing light to the exhibition spaces. The courtyards are an introverse but effective way to connect to the outdoor. For this reason a new extension is organized around courtyards.
The new courtyards are not excavated in a building but directly in the landscape of the park. The shape of the new museum is not defined by a new volume but by and absence of matter, by voids in the landscape. The invisible entity that creates these voids is the new iconic presence of the museum and its device to relate to the city. In this way the extension recall a special Finnish ability to relate with landscape and nature. The nationality of the museum is not about building new symbols in stone that recalls ancient stories but about creating a system, an agglomerate (or almost village) of voids that relate with nature.
Voids that permit to create a fluid and organic space, a contemporary exhibition machine where light and visitors can freely flow, a device that puts in relation the existing museum and the exterior space. Being national and Finnish is not recalling a pedantic “Tradition” but a light and modern organic attitude.