Asif Khan

Guggenheim Helsinki

quiet animal

We were shortlisted finalists from over 1700 entries in the international competition to design a Guggenheim Museum for Helsinki. Our intention was to design a museum to support Helsinki’s transition into a global destination and hub - a future-facing emblem for the city’s evolution.

Our proposal takes the form of a traditional city block in size and mass. The translucent textured form is made from a “smart” double-wall glass skin encompassing timber galleries within.

Seven timber-clad galleries are stacked over a basement and three levels flanked by administration and open-format halls. Public spaces are formed between these and an intelligent textured glass skin wrapping the entirety to precisely diffuse light, translucent below, and transparent above. The lower galleries join as needed, while the third floor is one super-space. The variety enables a wide range of curatorial approaches.

The museum’s three entrances are arrived at by new cobble and gravel walking routes. Centrally a wide, convivial staircase helps visitors wayfind intuitively. “Art Kioski” annex for young Nordic art twins the historic Kauppahalli while a sculpture garden is enclosed to the south.

In 1800s Helsinki city blocks were named after wild animals. The proposed new block will have the tactile familiarity of a pet’s fur. So we call this proposal “quiet animal”.

Team: Asif Khan, AOA , Kenya Hara, AKT II, Atelier Ten, Front Inc., Turner & Townsend, Klaus Stolt, Mikko Merz, Antto Melasniemi, Harri Koskinen, Linda Bergroth, Markus Lähteenmäki and Klaus Haappaniemi.