Our entry for the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition was inspired by Sibelius’ Swan of Tuonela, based on the Kalevala. It offered a Romantic counterpoint to the Neoclassical, Modernist, industrial and ecclesiastical architecture of the harbour front. The curved forms of the proposed museum were clad in alternating panels of local timber, glazing and copper-coloured photovoltaic panels. Bronze detailing echoed the golden cuppolas of Uspenski Cathedral across the bay. The existing park was extended through the site to the sea, with a rooftop planted with native wildflowers and a waterfront grove of native Pinus sylvestris. A striking visual presence on the skyline, the museum integrated the urban grid with a public route through the site, making the Swan a gateway to, and extension of, the city of Helsinki – while offering visitors a varied experience of art intimately linked to that of the city and of nature.
Consultant team :
MEP: John Bathurst, Darren Coppins
Structural : Steve Haskins
Facade : Thu Nguyen
Landscape : Antony Nelson