The six finalists remaining in the international competition to design the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki have now unveiled their stage two designs for a public exhibition.

Revealed in December of last year, the six finalists were chosen from a massive pool of 1,715 submissions, and were then asked to provide more detailed drawings and plans for their designs.

Fake Industries Architectural Agonism and SMAR Architecture Studio, who have offices in Sydney and Perth respectively, were the only teams with Australian connections chosen within the pool that also included Switzerland’s AGPS Architecture, London’s Asif Khan, Germany’s Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 and Moreau Kusunoki Architect of Paris.

The stage two designs have not been matched to their teams and each project will remain anonymous until the winning concept is selected on 23 June.  The designs will now be publicly exhibited as part of the Guggenheim Helsinki Now exhibition at the Kunsthalle Helsinki from 25 April. The exhibition will also include 15 projects that received honourable mentions from the jury and more than 1,200 stage one submissions.

The jury will then meet to select a winning design whose architect will be awarded €100,000 (AUD$138,994) in prize money.  Each runner-up will receive €55,000 (AUD$76,447).

Organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants for the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, the contest invited concept schemes for a 12,000sqm waterfront museum in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

It attracted more entries than other architectural competition in history and the range of participating countries demonstrates its popularity across the globe.


(click on image to go to project concept boards and images):


 As described by competitor:

The design of the Guggenheim Helsinki and its woven landscape are based upon a sensitive and sympathetic approach to the context and nature of Helsinki. The design encourages people to flow within a new cultural core that is linked to the rest of the city, through the port promenade and the pedestrian footbridge to the Observatory Park. This flexible access welcomes not only the visitors but also serves as a key cultural destination for the community.

The museum skyline is composed by independent volumes, highlighted by a landmark tower. These fragmented art exhibition spaces allow strong integration with outdoor display and events, while the lighthouse offers a new perspective over the city. This new museum concept together with the charred timber façade echoes the process of regeneration that occurs when forests burn and then grow back stronger.



As described by competitor:

The museum is composed of two spaces - one for exhibitions, the other a public forum - that come together in a dance involving art and the city, gradually engaging in multiple movements, from a pas de deux, to a pas de trois, etcetera.

One space of the museum is on the dock level of the port facility, acknowledging the site’s industrial function as a vital memory for the new ensemble. Part gathering place, part community center, part incubator for innovation, it is conceived as a social commons within the city.

The other space of the museum houses art exhibitions. Hovering in the air, it offers a place for contemplation, with large open galleries, complementing its companion space below. 

Greater than the sum of its parts, the museum generates multiple relations among people, architecture, and the arts. With this, the Guggenheim Helsinki can engage a broad constituency of stakeholders, benefiting not only the arts, but the public at large.


As described by competitor:

quiet animal

Our proposal takes the form of a Helsinki city block rotated to the harbourfront. 

Seven timber-clad galleries are stacked over a basement and three levels flanked by administration and open-format halls. Public spaces are formed between these and an intelligent textured glass skin wrapping the entirety to precisely diffuse light, translucent below, and transparent above. The lower galleries join as needed, while the third floor is one super-space. The variety enables a wide range of curatorial approaches.
The museum’s three entrances are arrived at by new cobble and gravel walking routes. Centrally a wide, convivial staircase helps visitors wayfind intuitively. “Art Kioski” annex for young Nordic art twins the historic Kauppahalli while a sculpture garden is enclosed to the south. 

In 1800s Helsinki city blocks were named after wild animals. The proposed new block will have the tactile familiarity of a pet’s fur. So we call this proposal “quiet animal”.


As described by competitor:

Helsinki is a city of interiors. Due to its extreme climatic conditions, Helsinki’s civic society blossoms indoors. Our proposal for the Guggenheim Helsinki, 47 Rooms, extends this network using the architectural technologies that construct Helsinki’s interior citizenry: i.e. walls, doors, windows, and the machinery that defines atmospheric conditions.

47 Rooms contains nine rooms of 20x20m, twenty-seven of 6.5x6.5m six of 10x10m, two of 120x4m and one of 32x120m and three outdoor rooms. A multiplicity of chambers and climatic conditions will allow various museums to live together in the same building. The museum is ready to welcome individual visitors, families, local art scene, high school visits, young audiences, international tourists, groups of friends… 47 Rooms is a machine to provide singular and ever-changing experiences by opening and closing doors to different climates.

47 Rooms extends the logic through which Helsinki’s population already tempers their more intimate public spaces. Imitating the logic of the Sauna, each room’s final climatic conditions include certain degree of negotiation between the institution and its visitors.

47 Rooms means a strategic shift on Guggenheim’s identity: it embraces Helsinki focusing on interior climate rather than external appearance. 


As described by competitor:

The use of Street Space forms the basis for basic social discourse, from political gatherings to Art creation or community expressions.

While an increasing “unofficial” art was blooming in the streets from the second half of the XX Century, Museums have been historically focused in Gallery Art, excluding Public Space production.

Future is “bottom up”. Museums have to change from institutions where information was directed in only one way: towards the viewer into institutions that are increasingly creating conversations with the citizen, prioritizing the human scale of a space over its merely sculptural value.

Due to its particular climatic conditions. There are 2 cities in Helsinki. Summer Helsinki and Winter Helsinki. We propose a Strategy that could offer back to the City an Interior Street, Public Space at no additional cost to be used also the 6 cold months of the year. The combination of 2 programs -The Museum -Gallery Art- and The Extra Space -Street Art- in a single building allows us to explore the relationship between 2 complementary worlds. Using both factors, we had the chance to add, subtract, divide… We decided to multiply


As described by competitor:

Five timber towers huddle together at the edge of the Baltic Sea, forming a shimmering beacon on the shoreline. 

Multiple forms produce an interplay of light and shadow that create an inspiring, enticing atmosphere, while glimpses of in-between spaces beckon visitors from near and far. The warmth and familiarity of the wood shingle façade creates a sense of belonging with the landscape, while an ethereal quality is expressed through its subtle oscillation, ruffling, as though brushed by the winds of the sea. Helsinki Five seeks to engage a sense of discovery that is deeply informed by art, instigating close encounters between artwork and viewer, between art-maker and art-making. 

It is a play of hide and seek, light and dark, wide and close, in and out.

Images and Concept Boards: