16.01.2014

Helsinki reserves site for Guggenheim museum competition

Proposed site is located in a prime location on Helsinki’s waterfront area in the city centre.

Helsinki City Board decided in its meeting on 13 January to reserve a site in Helsinki’s South Harbour for an architectural competition for a new Guggenheim museum proposed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The two-year reservation is for an 18,520 square-metre site that is currently used as the car park of a port terminal. The decision whether to build the museum will be made after the results of the competition are announced.

According to the foundation, Guggenheim Helsinki is envisioned as having a strong focus on Nordic and international architecture and design and their intersection with other forms of modern and contemporary art. Located on Helsinki’s waterfront, the museum would serve as a central gathering place and year-round focus of culture for city residents and as a premier destination for international visitors.

Opportunity for wood construction?

Although the museum will not necessarily have to be a wood construction, the architectural competition fulfils the support criteria from Finland’s national wood construction programme, according to Jan Vapaavuori, Minister of Economic Affairs. “Under the programme we are constantly looking for new wood construction projects. The Guggenheim architectural competition will attract a great deal of interest,” says Vapaavuori.

In Vapaavuori’s view, the museum would have a significant impact on the international image of Helsinki as a design city as well as boosting tourism and interest in the arts in Finland. The proposed site is close to significant civic buildings, green spaces, and premier cultural destinations in the city centre.

Sources: City of Helsinki, Guggenheim Foundation, Ministry of Employment and the Economy