The Serlachius Museum’s expansion building – the Gösta Extension – must necessarily have a symbolic character, enhanced by the magnificent location in Joenniemi Manor which already endows it with undoubted importance.

Water-related elements, such as the Vuohijoki landscape, and the privileged view of Lake Melasjärvi and Taavetinsaari Island, foster exceptional characteristics, thus making this location the most adequate site for the Museum in present competition.

Built between 1932 and 1935, inspired in English country houses’ architecture and in the Functionalist movement, the existing building was initially designed as a house residence for the Sherlachius family. Later, around 1945 and after the death of Gösta Sherlachius, the house was partially adapted to host exhibitive spaces. It was only around 1983-84 that the house was finally remodelled and transformed into a Museum.
Apart from the house, the gardens also play a vital role in the history of this place. Designed by Paul Olsson and dated from 1935, these clearly classic-influenced gardens intended to implement water mirrors and statuary along the territory, but these intentions never managed to get accomplished.

In this context, and due to the high increase of the exhibitive estate of the Serlachius Museum, comes the inevitable need to extend its building area.


The new museum comes together as a landscape that reinterprets the concept of the existing garden and its accesses, as it simultaneously redesigns the current coastline, allowing the water to be part of the architecture composition.

By reinforcing some of Paul Olsson’s past intentions for this place, water comes out as sculptural element delineating inner space. In its territorial expression, this water crosses and interacts with other natural elements – stone, wood and green structures – in a long wandering parterre between building and lake margin.

The access to the building is shaped quite naturally and intuitively, almost as a mean to an end or a road taking us to our destination. This project’s “architectonic path” determines the visitor’s relationship with the building, his or her way of inhabiting the museum.

The path’s reading is therefore defined by the entrance in the building and its inner possibilities of moving around. The sequence ramp/ lobby/ corridor/ galleries/ water patios/ focal points constitute the “orchestration” of the project’s main elements.

In this Museum, the definition of the path itself, or just a simple corridor, is fundamental for its interpretation.
The architecture of the new Museum aspires to be, simultaneously, the reflection of the surrounding territory’s exploratory character and stimulating context – enigmatic – calling out to the sensorial, perceptual and intellectual faculties of those visiting and experiencing the building.

Like the museological content it hosts, also its architecture becomes available for inquiry, as it is made of codes that are decipherable by attentive experience.


architect: ARX Portugal Arquitectos  |  team: José Mateus, Nuno Mateus, Sofia Raposo, Joana Pedro, Fábio Cortês, Décio Cardoso  |  status: Competition (2011)  |  competition: Serlachius Museum Gösta  |  consultant: Afaconsult - Paulo Silva, Raul Serafim, Luís Conde Santos  |  structural engineer: Afaconsult - Carlos Quinaz  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 4.644 m2 medium  |  types: cultural, museum  |  views: 1.280

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