The organisers behind The Next Helsinki, an 'anti-competition' masterminded by architect and critic Michael Sorkin, have highlighted a number of entries from 217 international submissions. Launched as an alternative to the controversial, "imperialised" Guggenheim Helsinki project, the call for ideas asked architects, urbanists, artists, and environmentalists to imagine how Helsinki and its South Harbour could be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city’s residents and visitors. It "sought to ask first if a massive foreign museum was the highest and best use for public resources, especially in an aspiration-focused egalitarian social democracy like Finland."
See a shortlist of eight entries that, according to the jury, "reflect the variety and depth of the submissions" after the break. "These entries are not to be viewed as refined and final proposals, but rather ideas."
Sorkin and his collaborators "initiated this project out of a sense of both outrage and love. Outrage at the march of the homogenising multi-national brand culture emblematised by the imperial Guggenheim franchise – the cultural equivalent of Starbucks – was what launched us." For Sorkin, each entry "addressed the questions we begged with insight, imagination, and wit. [...] We made clear that we were interested in ideas about how this amazingly charismatic site might be a point of dissemination – an irritant like the grain of sand that prompts the oyster to produce the pearl – for thinking about the future of Helsinki at many scales and in many conceptual registers." You can read more of Sorkin’s comments about the Finns’ attitude to their city and his thoughts on the shortlist of the recent Guggenheim competition in full here.
The feeling of love came from our mutual affection for Helsinki, from a sense that it is a singular place, unique in setting, form, and culture. Understanding the impetus to acquire a Guggenheim as a pursuit of the vaunted Bilbao effect, the idea that some gaudy global repository would put a tired place on the map, we wondered why a city so indelibly fixed in the urban firmament, so superb, would ant to surrender such a fabulous site to some starchitect supermarket.
#14 Parc art Helsinki / Pedro Carrasco Zanini Sánchez and Lucía Gutierrez Vazquez
#38 Helsinki Polybrids / Thomas Kong and Susan Seah
#59 Museum of the Welfare State / Marco Giovannone
#76 MUUSA / draftworks*architects, design team: Christos Papastergiou and Christiana Ioannou
#126 Landscaped Dock / Mathilde Lull and François Perrier
#154 Visions for Helsinki / Milja Hartikainen
#189 Helsinki Iňač / Tomáš Boroš. Consultant: doc. Ing. Arch. Juraj Koban
#191 Baltic Tale of Nothingness / Constantinos Marcou and Costas Nicolaou; external supportive member: Stavros Marcou
Click on the individual links above to see the complete PDF submissions. You can see all of the entries here.
The esteemed jury, replete with distinguished artists and architects (many of whom are Finnish), included:
- Michael Sorkin (chair)
- gallerist Ilona Anhava
- architect Walter Hood
- artist Juha Huuskonen
- artist Heta Kuchka
- professor Juhani Pallasmaa
- urban ecologist Miguel Robles-Durán
- professor Neil Spiller
- professor Andrew Ross
- curator Joanna Warsza
- professor Mabel Wilson
- professor Sharon Zukin