A Parisian architecture firm established in 2011 has trumped a star-packed line up to win the Guggenheim Helsinki Museum design competition.

Moreau Kusunoki Architectes (MKA) pipped Switzerland’s AGPS Architecture, London’s Asif Khan, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Germany’s Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 and SMAR Architecture Studio to win the brief for what has been called the largest architectural competition in history.

MKA’s design, called “Art in the City” comprises a cluster of independent volumes that are clad in charred timber and highlighted by a landmark tower dubbed the “lighthouse”.

The design is modelled on facilitating pedestrian flow throughout the fragmented art exhibition spaces and on integrating what will be the new cultural core of the city to the surrounding landscape. 
For full design story board click here:


Although MKA were only established in 2011, the founding Principals,Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki are no novices, nor are they unfamiliar with museum design. Moreau trained at the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Belleville in Paris and has worked in the studios of SANAA and Kengo Kuma, while Kusunoki, who earned her degree from the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo, began her career in the studio of Shigeru Ban.

SMAR and Fake shortlisted for Helsinki Guggenheim from 1,715 entries
Five charred timber projects and tips from Japanese master Fujimori

In an interesting twist unique to the competition, the shortlisted designs were released to the public and jury unmatched to the teams, only now do we know which project belonged to which team.

As first prize winner, MKA was awarded AUD$138,994 while each runner-up received AUD$76,447.

Images and video courtesy of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation