Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition






Guiyang, Guizhou, PRC



The heart of the new Guggenheim Helsinki Museum is a warm Core Structure in a melting Ice Block elevated over a solid Podium. The three parts of the museum form a compact set full of symbolism that accurately reflects the spirit of a country, and the ancient tradition of commitment with art, design and architecture of a whole city and a great institution.

The Core Structure is the heart of the building housing the exhibition space of the museum. This wood carving smooth shaped urban scale sculpture is the best acknowledgement to the commitment kept by centuries to this material by Finnish craftsmen, artists and architects who sincerely knew how to mine the best attributes of this noble material.

The Ice Block houses Core Structure in its interior as if were a fossil, keeping the values, the tradition and the commitment to art. This frozen Core Structure about to open represents the hope of art which is in continuous motion and reinvented The Ice Block also represents a people whom personality has been clearly influenced by the adverse weather conditions. This pure prismatic straight shaped block of ice keeps its properties unchanged at the top in contact with the Finnish icy atmosphere. Conversely, at ground level occurs a gradual and irregular melting process caused by the fervent activity of visitors and citizens who come to the museum hungry for culture, knowledge and inspiration. The irregular melting at the bottom shows the footprint of the activity around. The melting is more pronounced where the activity is higher due to friction caused by people flow or by crowd. So that the Ice Block turns transparent at the bottom allowing totally integration between interior and outdoor space. The Ice Block Envelope and the inside Core Structure are based on a firm podium structure, raising the art gallery space to an upper level.

In addition to the implicit symbolism of these three parts they also fulfill a function which makes the museum works as a whole. The Podium creates an elevated interior plaza 360 degrees around the Core Structure while housing the supporting spaces in the lower level. This sloped podium allows the two main flows of people approaching the building which are at different levels (Olympia Terminal at the south and City Center at the north).The Ice Block protect the interior plaza from the adverse weather conditions of Helsinki while keeping amazing views over the harbor area and TahititorninVuori Park.

The Core Structure beside being an art piece itself houses the main exhibition spaces. Inside this volume are two main vertical communication cores. The first one is public and allows the circulation inside the exhibition space and the circulation at the main plaza independently. The second core is private allowing the vertical transport of staff and art collections.


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