A museum in the twenty first century must be more than a collection of unique cultural artifacts for reflection and cultural consumption.  A museum of the twenty first century must reflect and reinforce the creative energies and synergies between commerce / urbanity / cultural geographies / their histories and their futures. A Guggenheim Museum has a unique opportunity to reinvent the role of the museum as a cultural hub – a microcosm of the dynamic of the city and its cultural life as well as a significant place for the collection and dissemination of cultural knowledge.

The spatial realization of this dynamic definition of a museum incorporates multiple roles defining the museum in the twenty first century as center and collection of cultural production simultaneously. By envisioning the Helsinki Guggenheim as not only a series of galleries but as a winding walk for consuming both art / design as well as the city and the visual-scape of the harbor and park, architecture allows new interpretations of the role of the museum as a public space.

Offering a spatial / visual experience that ramps down through a series of galleries connected with a sloped and coiled promenade-like circulation corridor, the museum constantly returns the visitor to the city and larger landscape. The idea of design is reinforced by not holding the audience captive in a curated experience rather by weaving the story of contemporary design through the spectacle of the city itself.

The programmatic sequence of the museum is organized primarily through the downward stepped floor plate system. This allows galleries to exist in the large section of the flat floor area as well as to accommodate the lecture halls / learning centers, restaurants and commerce. The entire system of continuity is disrupted and reconfigured through a series of spatial atria that forms both the connection from the waterfront to the Tahititornin vuori Park. As well this system serves as the primary entrance for both the museum and the incorporated entrance to the new Makasiini Port Terminal ferry terminal to the south.

DATA: International Architectural Competition / Location: Helsinki, Finland / Project Team: Lonn Combs, Rona Easton, Michael Stradley