By Franz Schulander
Revealing for the first time the fully developed designs from which a winner will be selected in the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, visitors to the free exhibition will be able to explore and imagine the possibilities proposed by the six finalist teams, view fifteen designs newly announced as honorable mentions by the jury, and interact with installations that present analyses and interpretations of the data compiled from the record-setting 1,715 submissions to this open international architectural competition. A concurrent series of public programs, designed to engage a range of age groups, will offer additional opportunities for the public to learn about and discuss the ideas and issues raised by this unprecedented initiative.
At the core of the exhibition are the six designs that the independent, eleven-member competition jury unanimously selected to be finalists in the competition for a proposed Guggenheim museum in Helsinki. The architectural teams behind the proposals had from December 2014 until April 2015 to develop the designs further in response to feedback from the jury and insights gained from an in-depth briefing in Helsinki. The exhibition Guggenheim Helsinki Now makes available to the public the six fully developed designs, including much of the information that will be presented to the jury next month when it meets to select a winner.
Visitors to the exhibition can engage with the finalist designs in a variety of ways, including the Matchmaker Game, an app that was custom-developed for Guggenheim Helsinki Now by American data scientist and taste researcher Hugo Liu (principal scientist for eBay), which pairs players with one of the six designs based on a series of personality-driven questions. A special section of the exhibition, developed for the Guggenheim by the Finnish architect and theorist Martti Kalliala in collaboration with Liu, presents an experimental analysis of contemporary museum architecture, pairing human and artificial intelligence to interpret the competition archive as a data set. The exhibition will acknowledge by name the more than 1,200 participating architects who have elected to be publicly credited. Full submission content from the 1,715 Stage One entries is available for further analysis and study on the competition website, designguggenheim.org/stageonegallery. In addition, more than 500 entries have been made available by the competitors as open-source material under Creative Commons licenses for download and public use at the Guggenheim Helsinki GitHub web page.
Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said, “We hope this exhibition and its programs will inspire the Finnish public to engage with the possibilities of a Guggenheim museum in Helsinki, and to think about the potential of a prominent site on their waterfront. We are proud that the Guggenheim has generated these innovative approaches to the role of art and architecture in the future cityscape. We are especially grateful for the cooperation of the City of Helsinki, which decided to make the site available, and for the endorsement of the local supporters who made this competition possible. Now, through this exhibition, we offer the public an opportunity to dive into the kind of thinking that the jury will do as it prepares to choose the winning design.”
Guggenheim Helsinki Now: Six Finalist Designs Unveiled is curated by Troy Conrad Therrien, Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives, with Ashley Mendelsohn, Project Assistant, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
“In choosing the six finalists, the jury looked for designs that expanded the idea of what a museum could be,” said Therrien. “The competition is a catalyst to think differently about architecture and cities—and so is the exhibition. It does much more than simply present these designs. It aspires to promote an active dialogue with the citizens of Finland.”
Public programs organized around the exhibition will begin on Saturday, April 25 with “BIG Gang,” an event featuring competition jury member Jeanne Gang, founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, and Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG Bjarke Ingels Group, who will each present a keynote lecture on their work at Ateneum Hall. The following day, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Guggenheim will co-host a roundtable featuring Gang, Ingels, Pentti Kareoja, partner of Ark-House, Riina Palva, co-founder of Verstas Architects, and Marco Steinberg, founder of Snowcone, moderated by Juulia Kauste, director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, and Therrien, on the impact of architectural competitions and the role of architects in society. A special family weekend beginning on Saturday, May 9, will include three tech workshops designed for children and a panel discussion on play and technology led by Linda Liukas, founder of Hello Ruby. The schedule of public programs will conclude on Friday, May 15 with a conversation between artist Carsten Höller and Daniel Birnbaum, director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Explore the full list of public programs at designguggenheimhelsinki.org/events.
In conjunction with the opening of Guggenheim Helsinki Now, the dedicated competition website has been updated with a new section that features content from the exhibition, including the Matchmaker Game, data analysis of the 1,715 submissions, video profiles of the finalists, a list of the participating architects, and a gallery of the honorable mentions.
“As one of the first venues for exhibiting modern art in Finland, Kunsthalle Helsinki is the perfect setting for the Guggenheim Helsinki Now exhibition. Since 1928, Kunsthalle Helsinki has been a host to art, design and architecture as well as far-ranging, dynamic and sometimes heated discussion. We are pleased to welcome this interactive exploration about the future of museum architecture,” said Jan Förster, Director of the Kunsthalle Helsinki.
“Guggenheim Helsinki Now offers all people in Helsinki and Finland an opportunity to see what this museum of the new century could be,” said Ritva Viljanen, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki. “I hope that the exhibition creates lively discourse about the proposed museum and how a Guggenheim Helsinki would best serve our city and Finland.”
Guggenheim Helsinki Now presents the final 3D building models and drawings developed by the six finalist teams: AGPS Architecture Ltd. (Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, United States of America), Asif Khan Ltd. (London, United Kingdom), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, United States of America; Barcelona, Spain; and Sydney, Australia), Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart, Germany), Moreau Kusunoki Architectes (Paris, France), and SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Spain and Western Australia). In accordance with European Union procurement rules, the finalist designs have not been matched to the teams and this information will not be known to the jury or the public until the winner has been selected.
Also on view are designs chosen by the jury for honorable mention, by the firms ACXT-IDOM (Bilbao, Spain), BUBE (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, United States of America), Francisco Jorquera – Elena Campos (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), Helsinki Zurich Architecture Office Ltd. (Helsinki, Finland and Zurich, Switzerland), Ja Architecture Studio (Toronto, Canada), KUTONOTUK (Virginia, United States of America), Labics (Rome, Italy), Mark Hackett Architect (Belfast, United Kingdom), No.mad Arquitectos (Madrid, Spain), Nug Architects (Barcelona, Spain), Nuno Brandão Costa (Porto, Portugal), Projekt Praga (Warsaw, Poland), Studio Fountainhead + MGG (Copenhagen, Denmark), and Viar Estudio Arquitectura (Getxo, Spain). The identities of the honorable mention firms are made public in accordance with European Union procurement rules and with the permission of the teams. The full submission materials presented by the honorable mentions can be viewed at designguggenheimhelsinki.org/exhibition.
Analyses of the 1,715 submissions and the Matchmaker Game featured in the Guggenheim Helsinki Now exhibition are led by Martti Kalliala and Hugo Liu with Dan Taeyoung, Scott Donaldson, and Tommi Vasko. Graphic design is provided by the Helsinki-based firm Kokoro & Moi Exhibition consulting and installation services are provided by Ilkka Tikanen, Director of Art and Space Unlimited.
Competition Next Steps
Following the Guggenheim Helsinki Now exhibition, the competition jury will meet in Helsinki to select the winning design. The winning design will be announced on June 23, 2015, with an award of €100,000 (approximately $106,000) for the first-place team and €55,000 (approximately $58,000) for each runner-up.
Finalist Team Biographies
AGPS Architecture Ltd. was founded in 1984 and is led by principals Marc Angélil, Sarah Graham, and Manuel Scholl. Among its recent notable projects are the Portland Aerial Tram in Portland, Oregon; the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles; the B35 Apartment Building in Zurich; Dock Midfield, Zurich International Airport; the Zurich International School; a headquarters extension of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Gland-Geneva; and an urban upgrading project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Asif Khan Ltd. was founded by principal Asif Khan in 2007 upon his graduation from the Architectural Association. Notable projects include the MegaFaces Pavilion at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (awarded a Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Innovation); the Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion at the 2012 Olympic Games in London; Radiant Lines for The Light in Winter Festival 2014 in Melbourne, a shortlisted design for the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015; and Parhelia for Swarovski at Design Miami.
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism was founded in 2007 by principals Urtzi Grau (who currently teaches at the Princeton School of Architecture and Cooper Union) and Cristina Goberna (who currently teaches at Columbia University). Dedicated to the proposition that public potential remains unexplored in the existing built environment, the firm has produced or reproduced a variety of exhibitions, writings, and proposals, as well as projects that include a new velodrome for the City of Medellín and Superphosphates, a master plan for the nineteenth-century mining village of Aldea Moret in the west of Spain.
Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 was founded in 2012 by principals Martin Haas, David Cook, and Stephan Zemmrich in Stuttgart, Germany. Notable projects in Germany include the City Quarter T5 in Mannheim; Alnatura headquarters in Darmstadt; Geometry Global headquarters in Hamburg; the Rheinschloss Wohnturm, a new entrance to the town of Waldshut (currently under construction); and the redesign of the Kulturhaus Karlstorbahnhof in Heidelberg (in progress).
Moreau Kusunoki Architectes was founded in 2012 by principals Kusunoki Hiroko and Nicolas Moreau. Notable projects include the new Théâtre du Beauvaisis; the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain in Marseille; the Matsuri Boëtie Restaurant in Paris; and the plaza for the new Palais de Justice designed by Renzo Piano at the Porte de Clichy in Paris.
SMAR Architecture Studio was founded in 2007 by principal Fernando Jerez (Professor at University of Western Australia); the other partner is Belen Perez de Juan (who also teaches at University of Western Australia). Their projects deploy near-future scenarios as critical instruments for instigating debate about urban and social issues through design and emerging technologies. Built projects include Scaffolder (2006) for the Horizons exhibition in Madrid; a series of sustainable pavilions for exhibitions and fairs presented in Madrid and Barcelona from 2006 through 2011 (Paper Pavilion, Polyester Pavilion, Spiber Pavilion, Garden Pavilion); and Pipe House in Madrid (2013), a conversion of an industrial building to housing with minimal cost and intervention.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997) and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum, including with the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative and with The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.
About Kunsthalle Helsinki
Completed in 1928, Kunsthalle Helsinki has been used as an exhibition space throughout its history. The focus of the exhibitions is on contemporary art, but the exhibition program also includes design and architecture. Kunsthalle Helsinki does not have a collection of its own, but serves as a venue for changing exhibitions.
Designed by architects Hilding Ekelund (1893–1984) and Jarl Eklund (1876–1962), Kunsthalle Helsinki is a prime example of 1920s classicism and a prime example of this style in Finland. The building itself is protected and defined as a culturally and historically important architectural monument.
The Kunsthalle Helsinki is run by a private foundation supported by various artist and art organizations, including the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, and the City of Helsinki.
For more information, visit taidehalli.fi/en.