Location: Helsinki, Finland

Year: 2014

Status: Competition

Size: 11,874 m²

Program: Museum

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tarmo Laht, Ulla Mets, Sven Koppel, Indrek Rünkla, Ivan Sergejev)


Urban Solution

South Harbour is a loosely articulated space: it has clear edges in north and west, but a fading south edge. The museum defines the third edge of an emerging SQUARE, leaving the fourth open to the sea. The SQUARE will serve as destination Helsinki from the sea, acting as a singular hybrid cultural-natural platform – merging the water and the city, it creates numerous possibilities for future developments.

Museum Building

Urban-block-type of a compressed volume forms the south edge of the emerging square. Main exhibition spaces are elevated to mark the square, while transparent lower levels communicate with the city by letting the sunshine into the square, while enabling unobstructed views towards the Tähtitorninvuori. The super-structure of the building is comprised of four pillars with a structural meshwork at the top, on which the floors are hanging. Timber is used for both the structure (where feasible) and internal / external finishes. The building features a weaving “art-walk”, which can be used in different ways – as a connoisseur of art, or a flaneur in the city/museum.

The ski-lit opaque envelope of the main exhibition space is elevated to the top. The exhibition area is extended downwards, towards the city by a ramp, which descends to the 3rd floor, and then via an “art bridge” out of the building towards the Tähtitornivuori park. Public socializing occurs on the 1st floor – which accommodates the black box, media events, multipurpose rooms, café and restaurant, and seamlessly ties together the harbor, the city and the Tähtitornivuori park.

Technical Data

ground floor: 2,386 m²

1st floor: 2,256 m²

2nd floor: 1,112 m²

3rd floor: 1,195 m²

4th floor: 3,855 m²

gross floor area: 10,804 m²

outdoor exhibitions: 1,070 m²

TOTAL: 11,874 m²