Competition Entry, 2015
Los Angeles, CA
Acontextual in its ability to landmark, the Guggenheim as a built institution has globally reconsidered the relationship of modern art and architectural invention. As evidenced through the existing network of Guggenheim museums, the foundation demonstrates a novel and interscalar partnership among individual, art, and the city. Each architectural emergence of the Guggenheim has critically framed its respective urban context, employing the proven ability of the institution to insight transformation in local planning and architecture.
Paired with the history of the institution, the proposed site of the Guggenheim Helsinki demands a strategy that is at once both local and international. Locating the Guggenheim Helsinki in the South Harbor requires the museum to act as an anchor to the pedestrian port activities, an infrastructural hinge between city and harbor, and a monument to the arrival of international travelers and homecomings alike. The massing extends from the scale and context of the city to lean in dynamic contrapposto towards the water where the lift and height of the building are revealed. A rain and wind screen pulled taut to the museum posture at the harbor sweeps back towards the city to enfold the mass within layers of decisive undulations.
The waterfront site, though saturated with a potential to sustain visual prominence within and throughout the city of Helsinki, is presently isolated from pedestrian and infrastructural linkages necessary to make this institution inherently urban. As it exists, Laivasillankatu divides the site from Kaartinkaupunki, Tähtitorninvuoren Puisto, and effectively from the city itself. Access to the museum is in turn limited to the Market Square and harbor. Our strategy is not simply to bridge from the waterfront to the city but rather to use the institution as a medium through which local culture, green space, waterfront and harbor can engage through a shared public space.