Two months after the Finnish government vetoed funding for the Guggenheim Helsinki project, following an international competition won by Paris-based practice Moreau Kusunoki, it has been reported that supporters of the scheme have presented an updated proposal for the construction of the museum. According to The New York Times, "of its expected $144 million building costs, the City of Helsinki’s investment would cover a maximum of $89 million."
Moreau Kusunoki Architect: The Latest Architecture and News
For a few months spanning from 2014 to last year, the Guggenheim Helsinki museum competition was the hottest topic in architectural media. Even as Moreau Kusunoki's more contextually-driven design was selected as the competition winner, debate raged on over whether the search by yet another city for an iconic building to call their own was ultimately good or bad for architecture as a whole. But now, funding for the project has been rejected by the Finnish government, putting the museum in danger of not being built at all.
Moreau Kusunoki, based in Paris, have been announced as the winners of the Guggenheim Helsinki competition following a year of shortlisting, refining and deliberation. Their proposal—entitled Art in the City—"sums up the qualities the jury admired in the design" noted Mark Wigley, chair of the jury. He continued: "the waterfront, park, and nearby urban area all have a dialogue with the loose cluster of pavilions, with people and activities flowing between them. The design is imbued with a sense of community and animation that matches the ambitions of the brief to honor both the people of Finland and the creation of a more responsive museum of the future."
The announcement was made this morning in Helsinki by Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. Also present was Professor Mark Wigley, chair of the jury and Dean Emeritus of Columbia GSAPP, Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki, Ari Lahti, chairman of the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation, and the architect team.
More than ever, the media shapes architecture. The controversial Helsinki Guggenheim competition is as much about the use and exploitation of contemporary media as it is about design. The competition organisers are hugely proud to have over 1,700 entries to tweet about, but informed critics are less impressed. Has quantity ever guaranteed quality?
The competition has certainly created an impact. Some celebrate this, while others feel it has been detrimental to the profession, with so much unpaid time invested resulting in a low-level contribution to museum design.
Meanwhile, the spectre of Frank Gehry’s Bilbao Guggenheim, an “iconic” building that gave the American foundation so much positive publicity when it opened in 1997, haunts the Helsinki project. Finnish politicians hope for a similar success, a Sydney Opera postcard effect in this remote corner of the earth.
The Guggenheim has announced the finalists in the competition to design Guggenheim Helsinki, whittling down the entrants from a record-breaking 1,715 submissions to just six. Representing both emerging and established practices with offices in seven countries, the shortlisted entries show a variety of responses to the challenge of creating a world-class museum.
The six finalists are:
- AGPS Architecture Ltd. (Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, United States of America)
- Asif Khan Ltd. (London, United Kingdom)
- Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (Cristina Goberna, Urtzi Grau) , Jorge Lopez Conde, Carmen Blanco, Alvaro Carrillo (New York, United States of America; Barcelona, Spain; and Sydney, Australia)
- Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart, Germany)
- Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris, France)
- SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Spain and Western Australia)
Read on after the break to see all six designs in detail, as well as the jury's comments on each.