Guggenheim Museum Helsinki | Finland

Location: Helsinki, Finland

Type: Museum

Time: 2014

Building Area: 20000aqm

Building Height: 24m

Team: Tao Zheng, Fernie Lai, Alan Hung, Jilin Chen, Cong Gao, Jieran Li

Art deals with our spiritual needs, it is food for our soul beyond that of our basic functional needs. It exists beyond the physical realm and exists formlessly in the space between the viewer and the art piece. Therefore we’ve conceptualized the Guggenheim Helsinki experience with moments of illusion, bringing us closer to the boundless realm of “art”. The museum should be a pedestal to display art, but also should contribute to the holistic experience of “art”, providing the city with a place to gather, to escape, to experience.
“Artistic phenomena takes place simultaneously in two worlds: the realm of matter and that of mental imagery”. Between the clean surface-less digital experience and the rough physical surface of the building, the facade design and material choice were carefully selected to mediate both the physical realm and the digital realm. The shale-like exterior finish was chosen with a roughness to it, weathering differently as time goes by creating a contrast with the timeless art it contains. Despite the rough, earth-like exterior finish, remote sensor technology is placed throughout the museum, especially on the facade of the museum, allowing real-time information to be superimposed onto physical elements in virtual world through the use of personal devices which are more and more an extension of our sensory experiences today. Through this medium, the museum can present to viewers a variety of different information catering to their interests - investors, tourists, academics, artists, etc.
The design perches on the edge of the water, between the land and the water, looking back through the harbor at the city of Helsinki. Its presence serves to mediate art and its surroundings, city and nature, the physical and virtual. Besides the approach from the northwest from the city, the gap creates an opportunity to reconnect with the vast landscapes immediately behind the site. Creating three distinctive approaches to the building: through the landscape, from the city and from the water.
The creation of virtual space is embodied both within the digital realm and the physical realm. Virtual, does not refer to the digital world alone but can also be created with careful curation of physical illusions. The gap, through the use of reflective surfaces, presents the water through the building towards the landscape and the landscape towards the water, creating different illusions as the viewer’s positions shifts. The illusion provides a drastically different effect in both the front and back elevations, responding to the surrounding. In the front, when viewed from the waterfront and across the body of water, it has a serious presence, yet when viewed from the back in the park. the illusion created helps the building camouflage itself when faced with nature. Within the gap, this enigma in the city is coupled with an open public space, drawing people in, bringing people together, and providing a gathering space within the city. The experience that detaches you from the physical world enhances the immersive experience of “Art”.
With all of this, we hope to bring a brand new sensory experience to the audiences of this museum, visitors and artists alike.