The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has culled a shortlist of six finalists from its record-breaking deluge of 1,715 proposals for the still speculative and controversial Guggenheim Helsinki museum. Curbed is disappointed to report that no entries from the class of rousingly wackadoo submissions we compiled in October made it this far. But take heart, built-world rubberneckers, there are still "intelligent glass wrappers" and "thermal onions" to be found among the final six. Let's dive right in.
These are the firms the made it this far. Per competition rules, the designs will not be matched to their designers until a winner is announced.
· AGPS Architecture Ltd. (Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, USA)
· Asif Khan Ltd. (London, United Kingdom)
· Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, USA; Barcelona, Spain; and Sydney, Australia)
· Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart, Germany)
· Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris, France)
· SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Spain and Western Australia)
Here are the final six, each introduced with a synopsis from the competition website.
"GH-04380895 links the museum to the rest of the city through a pedestrian footbridge to Tähtitorninvuori Park and a promenade along the port, including a food hall and a market during the warm months. The museum programs are housed in pavilion-scale buildings treated as independent, fragmentary volumes within this landscape, allowing for a strong integration of outdoor display and event spaces with interior exhibition galleries. The ensemble is made to stand out from afar by being composed around a landmark tower. The use of charred timber in the facade evokes the process of regeneration that occurs when forests burn and then grow back stronger than before." ↓
"GH-1128435973 creates two facilities in dialogue with each other. The ground floor is an adaptive reuse of the existing Makasiini Terminal, conceived as a public space that extends the pedestrian boardwalk into the building. This is a place for education, civic activity, and incubating ideas. The second floor is an exhibition hall on stilts, which hovers above the terminal building, partly removed from everyday life. The long rectangular volume offers a flexible space for all types of exhibitions and adheres to the notion of a museum as a space apart. Through this dual scheme, the proposed museum could engage its public to co- create value and meaning." ↓
"GH-121371443 drapes a skin of textured glass panels over a bar-like, two-story interior structure, creating an environmentally sustainable public space between the facade and the gallery volumes, with natural light diffused throughout. In an unusual innovation, the element that makes the building sustainable—the intelligent glass wrapper, which uses technology such as Nanogel glazing and rollable thermal shutters—is also the element that distinguishes the project visually, giving the building an ethereal presence. Within the building, an annex for the work of younger Nordic artists is paired with a market hall, and a service pavilion encloses a sculpture garden." ↓
"GH-5059206475 reuses the laminated wood structure of the Makasiini Terminal to rebuild a wooden volume that exactly follows the geometry of the original, and preserves the current views from the park and the adjacent buildings. Within this structure—essentially an undisturbed network of existing conditions—the project creates 31 rooms: eight of them measuring 20 x 20 m, 18 of them 6.5 x 6.5 m, four of them 10 x 10 m, and one 40 x 100 m. This rigid set of spatial conditions is combined with a deliberate distribution of climates based on the program and principles of sustainability, with each room acclimatized independently so that the galleries together form a 'thermal onion.'" ↓
"GH-5631681770 reconfigures circulation and use of the East and West Harbors to establish an area of industrial activity and an area of cultural activity, with the museum as the link between the city and the waterfront. In a critical shift from the idea of a building as static object to a building that accommodates the flux of daily life, a city street runs through the interior of the museum, opening it to appropriation by the citizens and creating a combination of programs: a museum program and an unpredictable street program, in which visitors may become productive and creative users of the space." ↓
"GH-76091181 comprises a ring of slender, sculptural towers faced with timber shingles, reminiscent of vernacular architecture, gathered around a cathedral-like central space. The towers, with their play of light and shadow, create an architectural beacon, visible by land or sea, while the central space, sheltered from extremes of weather yet part of the quayside, provides an exceptional new site for public events on the waterfront. Exhibition galleries are housed in timber cabinets stacked within the towers. Bridges connecting the towers offer respite space for visitors between experiencing art and offer new viewing points over the city and harbor." ↓
The jury's official statement explains that "the final shortlist encompasses a number of different scenarios: from schemes which are more experimental in engaging with the program and whose outward form will only emerge in the second phase, to ones that might seem more resolved from the outside but whose programmatic concept will only evolve fully in the second phase." A single theme that "linked the chosen six, and united the jury, was the impulse to expand the idea of what a museum can be. How can this new museum create a vital, meaningful, public, and intellectual presence within Helsinki? Which of these concepts will develop so that they bear comparison with the city's architectural exemplars?"
What do you think, readers? Pick one and make your case for why it's more deserving than the giant potato in the glass cube.
Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition Finalists Unveiled [Guggenheim Helsinki via Arch Daily]