Strategically located between the grids of city block and harbor edge, the Guggenheim Museum extends from its urban setting / public plaza into an exhibition of diverse spaces. The vistas thus created unfold initially from one plane and gradually grow into multileveled planes. The flexibility offered to the curator in choreographing spaces for every exhibit as an event facilitates his /her own vistas and the movement through. The volumetric play of mass and void carve out ‘types of spaces’ which can be programmed further by the curator to encourage interaction between the artist, exhibits and the public. It allows simultaneity to the events based on its diversity, scales, engagement of outside to inside, the relationship between the exhibit and viewer, being exhibited further as demonstrations & so on.
The building form primarily takes inspiration from broken ice plates with sharp edges pushed through the axis of force. Whereas the interior of the building takes inspiration from wood and its shavings brings the sense of fluidity as well as gives warmth, thus allowing the transition between exterior and interior.
While responding to the historicity aspect of the city, the museum buildings inserts imagery of ‘civic space’ in the existing urban setting viewed and enjoyed from the prominent landmarks, vantage points, public places, parks and movement corridors. The building locates along the axis of the market square on the Northern side facilitating the pedestrian connection at public level and gradual shifting of axis towards the Olympia Terminal on the South side for the visitors arriving by boat or cruise ship.
The concept of ‘piano nobille’ is adopted to give urban scale to the building. The sense of grandeur is also achieved the way the building sits on an elevated platform which in a way strengthens its role of National Institution as foundation of cultural life & a symbolic Gateway to the Helsinki city.
The space beneath ‘piano nobille’ is occupied by services, storage, loading docks, offices, cafes, multipurpose hall and parking. The green house on the western edge of the building connects the pedestrian along the Laivasillankatu Road along with the dedicated corridor to the services which allows the building to open out at the sea side. Large Green House on south and western side provides hot air, indirect diffused light and buffer to noise pollution.
The considerations for environmental issues have been addressed thoroughly such as – lighting taken through sandblasted multiple layers of Plexiglass, phase change material used as thermal mass in the cavity of permanent walls and below mezzanine ceilings, controlled layer of snow/ ice over roof to provide insulation during winter, laminated timber construction as roofing and Scrimber [Bio-tech material & renewable resource] used as external cladding, triple glazing with air sealed spaces and adequate ventilation.
The design of the Museum promises a constructive dialogue between enduring values of a community and humane urban experience through the vocabulary of art and architecture. This sets itself in a dynamic natural setting with the support of technological innovations.