A proposal for a new gallery and museum in Helsinki.
Our building starts with the idea of a walk; between the city and forest, taking in the new gallery and the harbour. Walking is something that everyone does; it is free, healthy, sociable and sustainable. Our proposal would be inclusive and democratic, a building that encourages people who rarely go to galleries and museums to experience the wonders it has to offer, a building for the residents of Helsinki, not just for tourists.
The design has been conceived as a green and wooded landscape which flows out of Tähtitorninvuori Park and down into the city and which opens the majority of the site up as a public landscape that can become, whatever the weather, a destination and place for people to relax and socialise.
The fluid forms of the proposal denote the landscape and public spaces, while the simple orthogonal forms denote the galleries, some of which pop up through the landscape at second floor level, thus providing a clear definition of programme and creating simple wayfinding both from the city and within the museum.
The museum can be entered from two points, at “park level” on the second floor and “street level” at ground floor level. The ground floor is accessed directly from the new square to be created adjacent to the north of site, and the main entrance is orientated towards the city centre and envelopes visitors as they walk towards it. At ground floor the building form flows out onto the site, creating a series of spaces that are sheltered from the prevailing weather and offer views out over the harbour, orientated towards key buildings and landmarks.
Both entrances lead to a single security check at ground floor, which feeds into an atrium with a glazed triple height space looking out over the harbour. From this space a wide ramp clearly leads the way up to the galleries, which are entered on the first floor level. This allows the education, auditorium and multi-purpose spaces to be
located at ground floor with views out over the harbour, as well as allowing the ancillary and services accommodation to be hidden under the galleries. The staff offices are all located at first floor, also looking out over the harbour.
The galleries are located along long flowing spaces, all at one level, and are of differing sizes and characteristics, with differing lighting and spatial qualities, to avoid the generic white cube approach to gallery design. All collections and exhibitions would be digitally recorded and mapped so visitors create their own ways of navigating the museum, and those who wish to can download an app to their smartphones which would allow them to interact with the building when visiting and when not at the building.
The second floor park landscape would be wooded and planted, with spaces for works of art to be displayed in the public realm, and with paths allowing users to stroll and enjoy the landscape at leisure, or pass through it as part of a daily commute.