Both the Forest and the Midnight Sun are strong features within the Finnish landscape and Mythology. Alvar Alto once said; “You should not be able to go from home to work without passing through a forest”. This statement was recently reinforced by Visit Finland by stating that “The Finnish concept of “Everyman’s Right” means that you can walk freely in the forest.” These statements strongly influenced our conceptual approach to the design of our proposal.
The locality of the site is such that it sits at an interesting crux where land meets sea; visitor meets Finland, and welcomes the local home. It is also its proximity to Tahititoynin Vuori Park which led to the further exploration of this concept and the wish to extend the park to the harbour edges.
Could the new the Guggenheim Helsinki embrace the ideas of “Everyman’s Right” and provide a space where art is for all; whether you are active observer, or merely observing in the passing, or absorb art without even knowing it by means of being more than just and art institution? Walking through a forest… We also think the Guggenheim ‘Forest’ is a great opportunity to welcome any new visitors with such a gesture, into the cultural arms of not only Finland and Scandinavia, but also that of the world through the exhibitions and events being held.
Like the Finnish forest the ground level of the Guggenheim is a public space which features an amphitheatre a ‘natural ‘and urban park, as well as café’s, shops, etc. All nearby existing pedestrian and cycle routes, as well as the new proposed route to the ferry terminal, are drawn into this space, the forest floor. A central focal feature, the ‘Midnight Sun’ not only draws the attention of the distant viewer, but also features a climbing wall feature for climbers and inside features an auditorium. The very top is crowned with a formal restaurant with lookout terraces. The primary Guggenheim exhibitions are located within `the ‘tree-tops’, lifted above the height of Ferry’s in order to maintain its aspect to the entire city.
The concept of The Forest is taken through into many aspects of its design, from its construction being predominantly timber, the way indirect sunlight is filtered into the building and gallery through actuated roof lights (like leaves), through to the materiality, and the way that heating could be provided in the cold winter months through the use of biomass boilers using timber from sustainable sources as fuel.