Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM in Helsinki, Finland by Spark Architects
January 21st, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Spark Architects
The design aims to function as a translator between the urban condition, the public, and the museum spaces.
The existing urban edges of the city context define a triangular building mass. Lifting the main exhibition space allows the public and the museum programme to float freely underneath, creating a continuous connection between the urban fabric and water.
A 24-metre-high atrium in the raised exhibition space generates a T-shaped hybrid space, combining the qualities of a horizontal exhibition space with those of a vertical one and making three-dimensional displays possible.
The grid structure (in Finnish wood) shapes diverse spaces – galleries, atrium-like spaces and informal exhibition spaces beyond the physical confines of the building.
The design serves as a symbol for a dynamic 21st-century city by shifting the boundaries between open and closed, urban and art, and by creating new opportunities to display, link and create arts within the city.
The site for the new Guggenheim Museum Helsinki is located between a set of very distinct urban fabrics; a strong urban axis to the north, formed by Esplanadi Park and Market square, the boat heavy water surface of south harbour to the east, the active port functions of the Olympia Terminal to the south and the neoclassical urban grid of the city and the Tahititornin Vuori Park to the west.
The proposed design for the new museum should function as translator and transformer between these urban conditions, the public and the museums interior and exterior spaces.
To achieve this, we propose to place the main building mass in a triangle defined by the various urban conditions around; by 1) maintaining the visual connections from the city through Bernhardsgatan and Etelaeinen Makasiinikatu towards the harbour, thus respecting the neoclassical grid of the city, by 2) connecting the main urban axis to the north with the city and the Tahititornin Vuori Park to the south west, forming a loop with the inner city and revitalizing the urban areas to the west, and 3) through conserving and emphasising the strong edge between land and water, harbour and boat.
These defined urban edges frame a triangular field approximately the size of the requested exhibition space with no north facing edge.
By lifting the main exhibition space volume, it links itself to the upper edge of the neoclassical city grid while allowing public and program to float freely underneath, linking the different urban spaces and creating a continues connection beneath the building between the divers harbour functions, binding together city, leisure, art and serious harbour activities.
By adding a vertical 24 m high atrium to the lifted exhibition space, a T-shaped hybrid space emerges, combining the qualities of a generic horizontal exhibition space, unidirectional flexibility in two dimensions, with those of a vertical exhibition space; exhibitions in three dimensions. The atrium ground will also function as a multi-use space that can be opened to the urban landscape around, enabling the combination of art and performance events, within and outside of the building.
The main building structure is based on a 4 m unidirectional grid made of Finnish wood, creating diverse spaces, individual galleries, atrium like spaces and informal exhibition spaces beyond the physical confines of the building. The exhibitions halls, horizontal and vertical, are ordered on a 20 m grid, allowing for flexible exhibitions and controlled divisions and uses of the space. The vertical exhibition hall has a structural height of 8 meters.
This combination of different resolution grids, allows for a modular flexibility within the buildings boundaries and beyond, resulting in an active inclusion of design and architecture in the buildings programming, not just as a formal closed expression but as an open structure with endless possibilities.
Landscaping and terminal:
The landscape is stretched out like a carpet, a continuation of the harbour strip under the floating museum building, allowing for different activities while connecting the city to its harbour function to the south. The south end of the site is occupied by a new ferry terminal, wrapped under the landscape layer.
The different program spaces are wrapped as a loop, gradually ranging from informal (multi-use space, shop and restaurant) to formal (exhibition and events) around the central atrium.
The visitors centre is position just at the interface of these two zones, allowing access to all side function while controlling the access to the exhibition and event spaces. The roof of the building is partly occupied by offices and a formal restaurant.
The main access and circulation of the building is spiraling around the vertical exhibition space/ atrium, allowing the visitor to experience the gradual transformation from an informal urban landscape beneath the building to the formal rigid spaces of the exhibition space. While travelling up into the building, people will see and experience the surrounding urban and art space from different angles, interweaving the two into a new whole.
Our design for the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki would serve as an exemplary museum of the twenty-first century and a symbol of the dynamic city of Helsinki by shifting the boundaries between open and closed space, between urban and art, creating new opportunities how to display, link and create arts within the city. The design will exert a powerful influence over its context, providing social and urban regeneration in the area and articulating the link between the established city and the historic docks.
SPARK is an award-winning international design studio that creates distinctive buildings for our clients and great places for people. We focus on architecture’s potential to contribute positively to the experience of the city while addressing the pragmatic issues that govern each project. We work with the bold yet common-sense vision of enlarging the spaces of the city into our buildings, and of unfolding our buildings into the city – creating opportunities for layered experiences and engaging places.
Our celebrated designs emerge from a detailed analysis of context, brief, and typology. SPARK has a multinational team numbering over 100. We work synergistically, fostering our numerous perspectives on culture and varied professional experience to achieve rich, integrated design solutions that consider the impact on all project stakeholders. From our four offices – in London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore – we have created and delivered projects in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, and Australia. Each one has its own unique spark and manifests our desire to tackle and deliver on challenges that reflect the key global imperative of attaining a sustainable, life-improving environment for all.
SPARK’s award winning projects include Clarke Quay in Singapore, the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal (MIPIM Asia Awards 2011, “Best Mixed-Use development” award), the Starhill Gallery Kuala Lumpur and the Raffles City projects in Ningbo and Beijing.
Contact Spark Architects