WHAT ABOUT A CONTAINER THAT CAN CONTAIN ITSELF?
In order to celebrate Nordic ideals such as openness ad accessibility, and to emphasize the strong connection between the museum , the historic city and the harbor, the form and organization of the building are inspired by the mathematical model of the Klein Bottle, a non-orientable, single sided, boundary-free surface where the inner and outer faces are seamlessy interconnected – exterior becomes interior and vice versa. In other words, a container that can contain itself.
In a 3-dimensional space the Klein Bottle can be achieved by stretching the neck of a bottle through its side and joining its end to a hole in the base. This causes it to have one handle and one hole , also known as the nexus.
The bottle shaped envelope of the building runs parallel to the city fabric on the west side, while the neck bends to form a handle that lines up with the edge of the harbor on the east side of the plot. The handle defines the perimeter of the exhibition court, while the point where the base of the bottle -which is directly facing the Market square – joins the neck, marks the main entrance of the building.
“The form of the building induces a strong emotional impact on the visitors, generating a sense of deep attraction, curiosity, wonder. The distinctive imploded-like funnel shape form of the façade will draw visitors towards the building, curious to see how it continues inside. As visitors move inside, the traditional Cartesian and Euclidean space is negated by the continuity between floor, walls and ceiling -all conceived as one. The exhibition path is a loop that emphasizes the “endless” nature of the form.”
FINNISH WOOD INSIDE AND OUTSIDE
The continuity between the outer and inner surface is particularly emphasized by the use of local timber inside and outside the building.
The structure is an exposed gridshell exoskeleton formed by a double layer of curved laminated timber beams joint together by a series of steel cross beams. The longitudinal arrangement generates a very dynamic linear pattern that emphasizes the geometry and fluidity of the space. Furthermore, the expression of the timber beams convey a “Finnish touch” to the design, celebrating the use of this material and linking back to the work of Alvar Aalto and modern finnish design.
The building enclosure is set behind the external beams, adequately detached to allow drainage, while the internal cladding and flooring are set flush between the internal beam edges. Service elements are contained within the double-layer enclosure allowing maximum reach and flexibility in all direction.
Diffused sunlight fills the space through a series of central skylights, illuminating the assessment of exhibits below and creating a soft and light – almost cocoon-like environment.
With its iconic presence and unique character the new Guggenheim Museum will increase the profile of the city, becoming the internationally recognized symbol of Helsinki, a must-see destination attracting visitors from all around the world. It will provide a modern flexible facility at the forefront of museum design, identifying Helsinki as a leader in new technologies and cutting-edge design.
Client: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Bldg. Area: 12,100 m2
Status: International design competition
Architect: LUCA POIAN FORMS
Visualization: ENGRAM Studio