Twitter Reacts to 1,715 Guggenheim Designs

The news that every single one of the 1,715 designs for the future Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki have been released via a new competition website was understandably something of a media storm earlier this week. As the largest ever set of proposals to be simultaneously released to the public, how could anyone possibly come to terms with the sheer number and quality of the designs – let alone all the other issues which the proposals shed light on?

In this instance, the answer to that question is simple: get help. Guggenheim Helsinki will arguably go down in history as the prototypical competition for the social media age, not just for releasing the designs to the public but for their platform which enables people to select favorites, and compile and share shortlists. In the days since the website launched, Twitter users have risen to the challenge. See what some of them had to say after the break.

See All 1,715 Entries to the Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Online

GH-7128234610. Image Courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants

The competition for the new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki closed last month, becoming the most popular architectural competition in history with 1,715 entries. Now, competition organizers Malcolm Reading Consultants have made every single one available to view online, with each anonymous proposal presented in a series of two images, and a short description fro the architects. “Since its inception, this competition has been organized to be welcoming, inclusive, and transparent, and the gallery presents a singular opportunity for the public to explore and consider the broad expanse of entries,” says Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. and Foundation.

Competition organizer Malcolm Reading added: “For anyone interested in design, the gallery is a tremendous resource that offers rare insight into the design process and further illustrates how the vision for a … [has] captured the imagination of architects around the world.”

And indeed, the website does provide a tremendous tool: with such a huge volume of entries, the database and its associated tagging system offer an interesting way to probe the architectural zeitgeist: for example, it seems ‘curved’ buildings are almost twice as popular as ‘straight’ buildings; and ‘opaque’ buildings are still unpopular, being outpaced by ‘transparent’ buildings by almost five to one, despite the traditionally opaque museum typology.

But when it comes to architectural quality, where do you even begin with 1,715 proposals? The competition’s website has that covered too, with a favorites button, a six-building shortlist tool and a search-by-registration tool. ArchDaily is here to help too: after the break, we’ve hand-picked 50 of the most exciting, unusual, interesting and simply absurd proposals for you to start talking about.

Helsinki Announces Competition for City Centre High Rises

The Pasila district has been marked for development for some time. Above, a model of the area masterplan from 2006. Image © Flickr CC User Darren Webb

The city of Helsinki has announced plans for a design and build competition for a new commercial and residential district in Pasila, near the city centre. The competition, which calls for 8-10 buildings of 15 stories or more, will be part of the city’s drive to make Pasila the “second centre of ,” with a total of 150,000-200,000 square metres of residential and office space planned for the district. Read on after the break to find out more about the competition.

Can You Imagine a City Without Air Conditioners?

Helsinki is pioneering an underground cooling system that could cut 80% of carbon emissions compared to conventional air conditioning. Image © Flickr CC User Justin Swan

Despite Finland’s relatively cool temperatures, climate changes have made heat waves more common in Northern , and the demand for cooling buildings in summer is increasing. Instead of installing air conditioners for individual buildings, Helsinki is pioneering a vast network of underground that pumps cold water from lakes and seas into local buildings. Beneath an unassuming park in downtown Helsinki sits a reservoir containing nearly 9 million gallons of water that is recycled and cooled by waste energy after it is used for cooling, replacing the need for air conditioning in the city and cutting carbon pollution by 80%. Read more about this undertaking in this article from Fast Co. Exist.

New Images Take You Inside ALA’s Helsinki Central Library

Central Library. Image ©

Take a tour inside ALA Architect’s Helsinki Central Library with a new animation and set of images revealing the project’s spacious interiors. The project, which was awarded to ALA through an international competition, boasts a unique set of programs, such as a ground floor cinema, second story sauna, “Nerd Attic” and dreamy “Book Heaven” that is topped with a cloud-like undulating roof and includes a distinctive outdoor “Citizens’ Balcony.”

Artists Seek Alternatives to Proposed Guggenheim Helsinki

South Harbor. Image © City of

As the first phase of the Guggenheim Helsinki design competition concludes, a group of independent arts organizations have launched a search for “alternative” proposals: The Next Helsinki. The counter-competition calls on architects, urbanists, landscape architects, artists, and “all others who love cities to suggest ways in which Helsinki and its South Harbor can be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city.” More information, after the break.

OfficeUS Propose Floating Museum for Guggenheim Helsinki Competition

Courtesy of © OfficeUS via cruises.officeus.org

When you visit the galleries of Guggenheim Helsinki, you may have to bring a life vest. This submission to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition floats the idea of a museum over water, traveling between the ports of St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Helsinki. Proposed as a hypothetical submission to the worldwide contest, the team at OfficeUS delve into the notion of transience in the new world of architourism. The brief reads: “As a global freeport, the museum develops a completely new , offering the strategic tax benefits of freeport art storage while enabling exhibitions of some of the most important pieces of modern art and design.” Upcoming exhibits include (hypothetically) Olafur Elliasson, Yves Klein and Thomas Demand.

Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, first open international competition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, was officially launched today. Submission deadline for stage one is September 10. A jury that includes Mark Wigley, Jeanne Gang, Juan Herreros, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto will announce the shortlist during Fall 2014.

Following a detailed Concept and Development Study by the Foundation, the City of Helsinki has reserved a prominent waterfront site for the architectural competition of the proposed museum. The site is located in the Eteläsatama, or South Harbor area, an urban space of great national and cultural significance, close to the historic city center and immediately visible to visitors arriving by sea.

It is envisaged that the Guggenheim Helsinki would organize and present internationally significant exhibitions of artworks from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries while also specializing in Nordic art and architecture. Within the Guggenheim Foundation’s international constellation of museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Helsinki would be distinctive in its active inclusion of design and architecture in its programming.

Malcolm Reading Consultants are running the design competition. All enquiries should be directed here. For complete information please visit the competition’s official website.

Results of the 2014 European Prize for Urban Public Space

The Braided Valley / Grupo Aranea. Image © Jesus Granada

The results of the 2014 European Prize for Urban Public Space have been announced. The prize organized by the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) rewards both the designers and the facilitators (such as councils or community groups) that have contributed to the best urban interventions of the year. The award is given for ingenuity and social impact, regardless of the scale of intervention, meaning that small, relatively unknown practices can rub shoulders with some of the best-known practices in Europe.

See the 2 Joint Winners and 4 Special Mentions after the break

Omenapuisto Day-Care-Center / Hakli Architects

© Jussi Tiainen

Architects: Hakli Architects
Location: ,
Architectural Design: Seppo Häkli, Matti Tervonen
Area: 890 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jussi Tiainen

House M-M / Tuomas Siitonen Office

© Tuomas Uusheimo

Architects: Tuomas Siitonen Office
Location: ,
Area: 145.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Tuomas Uusheimo, Maija Luutonen

What the Guggenheim Should Consider Before Building in Helsinki

The Bilbao / Frank Gehry. Image © Flickr User: Iker Merodio

The Guggenheim is planning a new museum in Helsinki. The site is in the heart of the city, next door to the late 19th Century market hall and open-air market place, two minutes from Helsinki Cathedral. The project, therefore, has great landmark potential for the city. And many Finns are lured by this very potential, wanting to increase tourism and put their capital city more evidently on the world map. There has also been discussion in the country’s main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about how Finns should welcome a more joyous and fun architecture.

Destination-creation and architecture as entertainment are certainly strong themes of our times.  They were treated with great artistry by Frank Gehry with the Bilbao Guggenheim, opened in 1997. However, it’s important to remember that the Bilbao Guggenheim might best be considered a spectacular one-off. Mayors, politicians and world leaders have since sought, in perhaps too facile a way, to rebrand their cities and countries with iconic landmarks. There has been much talk of making cities “world class” through such architectural gestures, and yet much of this marketer’s fodder is wholly out of touch with what makes great architecture great.

Helsinki University Main Library / Anttinen Oiva Architects

© Mika Huisman

Architects: Anttinen Oiva Architects
Location: Kaisaniemenkatu, Helsinki,
Design Team Leader: Vesa Oiva
Area: 31,700 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Mika Huisman, Tuomas Uusheimo

“The Hug” / MenoMenoPiu Architects & Paolo Venturella

Courtesy of &

MenoMenoPiu Architects & Paolo Venturella just released their entry for the Alvar Aalto University Otaniemi Campus Competition in Helsinki. Their proposal focuses on the creation of an energy-efficient learning environment that rethinks the traditional courtyard typology. It uses different levels and heights to create a variety of public and private spaces open to both students and inhabitants of the city, all while framing the main Alvar Aalto building.

The architects’ description after the break. 

Arctia Headquarters / K2S Architects

© Mika Huisman

Architects: K2S Architects
Location: Katajanokka ,
Architect In Charge: Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola & Mikko Summanen
Construction Designer: Eero Kotkas
Area: 950.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Mika Huisman, Marko Huttunen

Helsinki Central Library Winning Proposal / ALA Architects

Courtesy of ALA Architects

ALA Architects have just won the design competition for the new Central Library with their entry “Käännös”. Located in the heart of , the 16,000 square meter library building will consist almost entirely of public spaces and will offer a wide selection of services. It will serve as the new central point for the city’s impressive public library network and is slated to open in 2018. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Light Houses. Young Nordic Architecture Exhibition

Boathouse by TYIN tegnestue / © Pasi Aalto

The Museum of Finnish Architecture’s summer exhibition, ‘Light Houses.Young Nordic Architecture‘ is a two-part showing of contemporary work by young Nordic architects taking place now until September 22. Thirty-two architects from , Sweden and Norway – all born after 1962, the year the pavilion was designed – were invited to design a sculptural piece that both complements the modernist vocabulary of Fehn’s pavilion and encapsulates their office’s philosophy of architecture in a 3D form of pre-specified dimensions. More information on the exhibition after the break.

Rainbow Housing Project / ARK-house Architects

© Tiia Ettala

Architects: ARK-house Architects
Location: ,
Design Team: Pentti Kareoja, Harri Ahonen, Heljä Herranen
Client: NCC
Area: 5,800 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Tiia Ettala