Design by Paris Firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes Wins Historic International Competition for Proposed Guggenheim Helsinki Museum
The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, which began in June 2014 and generated a record-making 1,715 submissions from more than 77 countries, reached its conclusion today, as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced the winning concept: a design titled “Art in the City” that invites visitors to engage with museum artwork and programs across a gathering of linked pavilions and plazas organized around an interior street. Clad in locally sourced charred timber and glass, the environmentally sensitive building would comprise nine low-lying volumes and one lighthouse-like tower, connected to the nearby Observatory Park by a new pedestrian footbridge and served by a promenade along Helsinki’s South Harbor. The Guggenheim revealed that the design, one of six finalists, was submitted by Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, a firm founded in Paris in 2011.
The decision of the 11-member international jury was announced by chair Mark Wigley, professor and dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. According to the jury, the winning design “would cohere around a covered street that can expand and contract according to its interaction with the discrete pavilions,” which are “distinctive and contemporary” in their forms and materials. “The jury found the design deeply respectful of the site and setting, creating a fragmented, non-hierarchical campus of linked pavilions where art and society could meet and intermingle.”
In a joint statement, Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki said, “Thanks to the bold vision of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the City of Helsinki, the international open competition process offered a unique challenge for practices around the world to partake in this exceptional project. Such events represent great hope for architects. We are delighted and honored to have been selected from among 1,715 entries. We are happy to share this victory with all the people we work with: our staff, our partners, and our clients. This great adventure brought us energy, joy, and dreams. The adventure now continues with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the people of Helsinki, and lovers of architecture and art.”
As the winner of the competition, Moreau Kusunoki will receive a cash award of €100,000 (approximatelyUS$109,000). An award of €55,000 (approximately US$60,000) will be given to each of the other finalist teams: AGPS Architecture ltd. (Zurich and Los Angeles; GH-1128435973), whose design was named runner-up; Asif Khan Ltd. (London; GH-121371443); Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, Barcelona, and Sydney; GH-5059206475); Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart; GH-76091181); and SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid and Western Australia; GH-5631681770). GH registration numbers identify the previously anonymous projects on www.designguggenheimhelsinki.org.
The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition was funded entirely from private sources and organized by the Guggenheim in association with the City of Helsinki, the State of Finland, and the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA). Further consideration regarding the development of the proposed museum lies with the Finnish stakeholders at the local and national level. Potential funding models proposed by the Guggenheim in 2013 incorporate both public and private sources, including the non-profit Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation.
The competition jurors, in addition to Mark Wigley, were Mikko Aho, Director of City Planning and architect, City of Helsinki; Jeanne Gang, founder and principal, Studio Gang Architects; Juan Herreros, founder and principal,Estudio Herreros; Anssi Lassila, architect and founder, OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture; Erkki Leppävuori, president and CEO, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Rainer Mahlamäki, professor and founder, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects; Helena Säteri, Director General, Ministry of the Environment, Finland;Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, founder, Atelier Bow-Wow; and Ritva Viljanen, deputy mayor, City of Helsinki.
The competition manager for the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition was Malcolm Reading Consultants (UK). The competition was made possible by the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation, Swedish Cultural Foundation, Guggenheim Helsinkiin Association, Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation, and private individuals who wish to remain anonymous, with special thanks to the BMW Group for its support.
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997) and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum, including with the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.