Helsinki, Finland


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The design of The Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki is to create an innovative building with strong identity that will become the new symbol of Helsinki. More importantly, it is to establish a connection between the city and the waterfront, provide a lively public place that people in Helsinki and from all over the world will come and enjoy.

An important aspect of Helsinki is that streets terminate at waterfront and provide views to the ocean. To respond to this intimate relationship between the city and the water, the Museum spans one city block with north and south façades lining up with the adjacent buildings across the street, thus allows streets to terminate at the waterfront and have views to the water.

The water front of the Museum is pushed back to form a public plaza embraced by a curved curtain wall façade of the Museum. Within the museum facing the plaza is a spacious “concourse” that spans the entire length of the building and connects all the program elements of the museum. On the ground level are temporary exhibition space, gift shop, auditorium, classrooms and a cafeteria. On the second floor are galleries dedicated to permanent exhibitions. The administrative offices are housed on the mezzanine level overlooking the lobby.  The full height glazing along the curved concourse introduces daylight into the building and offers unprecedented panoramic views to the plaza and the water beyond. The inside and outside public space are connected seamlessly along the building and become one lively and flexible space that can accommodate a variety of uses and programs, such as concerts, workshops, large scale exhibitions, and public and private events. 

The design implements many sustainable design strategies to reduce energy consumption and maximize human comfort. The east façade of the museum is fully glazed with high performance curtain wall system, allowing abundant daylight to penetrate into the space. Louver sunshades are strategically located on the exterior of the glazing to reduce unwanted heat gain and glare. The atrium space allows fresh air in from the low windows and exhaust air out through the high windows, keeping the space naturally ventilated whenever weather allows. Windows would be closed during cold days, forming a “green house” that can contain heat to reduce heating demand of the building. The main wall and floor slabs are made of concrete, providing good thermal mass to mitigate temperature swing. Other sustainable strategies such as green roof, solar panel array and geothermal heating and cooling are also integrated into the high performance building system.

Location: Helsinki, Finland

Market: Culture

Area: 12,500 sq m

Service: Design