CLAD World Exclusive: Moreau Kusunoki discuss winning controversial Guggenheim Helsinki contest

by Magali Robathan | 27 Jul 2015

“With big projects like this one, there's always going to be controversy,” said Nicolas Moreau, co-founder of Moreau Kusunoki, the Paris-based practice that won the competition to design the Guggenheim Helsinki.

Moreau Kusunoki – founded by husband and wife team Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki – were announced as the winners of the Guggenheim Helsinki competition in June. Their design features a series of linked pavilions and a glass-topped 'lighthouse-style' tower. The wood and concrete structures are clad in charred timber, a traditional method of making wood fire and water resistant used in Japan and Finland.

The open competition – which attracted 1,715 entries – was controversial, with a group of Helsinki artists setting up a competition for alternative ideas for transforming the harbourside site in protest at the city's plans to build a Guggenheim museum there.

“It's a project that affects every single resident of Helsinki – it's in the centre of their classic, historic, valuable city, so of course they're going to be concerned,” said Moreau, talking to CLADmag. “We were actually happy to see how much they cared.”

The original designs were changed in response to feedback from Helsinki residents, said Moreau and Kusunoki. The tower was moved from its original position close to existing hotels and housing to the opposite end of the site. “People were concerned about the position of the tower and we thought it polite to consider the fact that they weren't comfortable with such a heavy presence at that end of the site,” said Moreau. “That was quite a radical change.”

Moreau and Kusunoki also proposed an informal exhibition gallery, which could be used to display the work of local artists. “After the first stage of the competition, we met with the association against the Guggenheim Helsinki,” said Kusunoki. “Helsinki is home to many artists, and they weren't happy to accept a top down attitude towards this museum. We listened, and introduced the idea of a more informal gallery to allow emerging artists to show their work, to have meetings with curators and buyers and eventually to work in studio space there. This is something that the Guggenheim New York doesn't have.”

Creating a highly flexible museum was important, said the architects, as was the role of the in between, or interstitial, space. "The in between space is designed to drive people from outside to inside from different points in the site," said Moreau. "The idea is also that this space could be used to host lots of different kinds of activities organised by the people of Helsinki. From a curatorial point of view, thanks to the design of the pavilions and the in between space, it's a very flexible design. You can combine different volumes, you can organise large or small exhibitions, you can use one or two floors and you can access the restaurant independently at night. It would be up to the museum director how to organise it."

Moreau Kusunoki is a young practice, established in 2011. Moreau and Kusunoki began their careers in Japan, with Kusunoki working for Shigeru Ban and Moreau working for SANAA and Kengo Kuma. The pair moved to France in 2008 when Moreau was asked to co-found Kengo Kuma's European office. He was the lead architect on Kuma's FRAC contemporary art centre in Marseille.

The practice is currently working on a range of projects including the House of Cultures and Memories of French Guiana in Cayenne, due to open in 2017; the Paris High Court Plaza for the Renzo Piano-designed District Court in Paris, also due to open in 2017; and the Polytechnic School of Engineering for the University of Savoie in Bourget-du-Lac.

The full interview with Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki will appear in CLADmag 2015 3

Related stories

Moreau Kusunoki win Guggenheim Helsinki competition with Japanese-style 'Lighthouse'

Winning entries in "Anti-Guggenheim" competition focus on Helsinki’s heritage and community

Anti-Guggenheim Helsinki design competition attracts 200 alternative visions

Finalists announced for Helsinki Guggenheim competition

UNESCO names five new Cities of Design

All 1,715 designs revealed for record-breaking Helsinki Guggenheim architectural contest

“With big projects like this one, there's always going to be controversy,” said Nicolas Moreau, co-founder of Moreau Kusunoki, the Paris-based practice that won the competition to design the Guggenheim Helsinki. Moreau Kusunoki – founded by husband and wife team Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki – were announced as the winners of the Guggenheim Helsinki competition in June. Their design features a series of linked pavilions and a glass-topped 'lighthouse-style'
CLD,TOU,VAT,HAM,AAC,PRO,ARC,DES,PHR
The practice was founded by husband and wife team Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki / Julien Weill
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6504     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6504     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: TVS Group
TVS has a broad portfolio of products, including high-performing shock pads, surfaces for sport, fitness and play, as well as highly specialised acoustic materials for noise and vibration control.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Community partners working on the Destination Crenshaw project
Gabrielle Bullock studied architecture and fine art at the Rhode Island School of Design
"I’m one of 424 black female licensed architects in the US. We represent 0.2 per cent of the profession"

Architects must reflect the world they design for, says Perkins+Will’s director of global diversity

Mirrors gave the impression that the maze was larger than it actually was
Martha Schwartz
"No one is taking the issue of climate change seriously. Some bad things will have to happen before there is a change"

The outspoken landscape architect on climate change, bagels and being controversial

Amanyangyun: Discover the story of the resort created from a relocated forest
"This carefully choreographed interplay of room and courtyard extends through all scales of the masterplan"

The desire to save a threatened forest and historic buildings in China led to a truly unique resort, We speak to the people that made it happen

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Visitors will be able to explore a variety of different environments
"Part museum exhibition and part immersive environment, the project invites visitors to explore Snarkitecture’s work"

Reimagining the traditional home

Many people today are searching for a sense of community
"Wellness real estate makes up about 1.5% of the total annual global construction market"

Research by the Global Wellness Institute valued wellness real estate at US$134bn in 2017 and growing. The research authors outline the implications

UNSense is developing hi-tech solutions
Ben van Berkel believes practices will all become ‘arch tech’ firms
"We’re living in the age of the iPhone, yet the architecture and construction industries are still in the Walkman phase"

On the launch of his tech startup

features
Matteo Thun leads a design studio of over 70 people, with offices in Milan and Shanghai
"We want a longer life cycle for every product, even if it means business is slower"

Simplicity and sustainability should be at the heart of all design argues the Italian architect

The Guardian Art Center opened in early 2018
According to Ole Scheeren, the best buildings are the ones that tell us stories
"Economic value can be achieved by a sense of generosity towards the public domain"

The architect behind Beijing’s CCTV Headquarters and the Taipei Performing Arts Center talks form, fiction and fantasy with Kim Megson

The Grand exhibition hall
"A unique leisure destination in the Greater Paris of tomorrow"

The key cultural buildings for Paris’s controversial new leisure destination

cladkit product news
Kvorning wins contest to design aquaculture exhibit at Norway's Coastal Museum
The exhibition explores the history of Norway's fish-farming industry dating back to 1970
Lauren Heath-Jones
Copenhagen-based design studio Kvorning Design and Norwegian advertising agency Vindfang have won a competition, organised by Museums in Sør Trøndelag ...
Carlo Ratti's 'wonder wall' robot could become reality with kickstarter campaign
Unveiled at Milan Design Week, as part of Ratti's Living Nature installation, the Scribit is the result of Ratti's ongoing investigation into and development of writing machines
Lauren Heath-Jones
Carlo Ratti Associatti has developed an intelligent robot capable of writing and drawing on vertical surfaces. Called Scribit, the device ...
Hotel Crescent Court opens new spa following multi-million-dollar renovation
Hotel Crescent Court has reopened its spa after a multi-million dollar refurbishment
Lauren Heath-Jones
Hotel Crescent Court, a luxury hotel in Dallas, Texas, has reopened its spa and fitness centre after completing a multi-million-dollar ...
cladkit product news
Bright Buildings to create UK's first 'open sky' swimming pool
Bright Buildings will create the retractable roof for the Open Sky pool at Ivybridge Leisure Centre
Lauren Heath-Jones
Leisure operator Fusion Lifestyle has announced that it will invest millions of pounds over the course of the next three ...
Parkside opens flagship Chelsea showroom
The showroom is designed to inspire its clients
Lauren Heath-Jones
Parkside, a designer of contemporary porcelain and ceramic tiles, has opened its first showroom in the UK. Located in Chelsea ...
Ben van Berkel launches UNSense startup to boost health and wellbeing in built environments
Kim Megson
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and his design firm UNStudio have launched a tech startup to “improve the health and ...
cladkit product news
London's new pollution-eating living wall has air purifying power of 275 trees
CityTree is a living wall that reduces particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air by 30 per cent
Lauren Heath-Jones
The Crown Estate, a London-based commercial real estate company, has partnered with Westminster City Council and cleantech specialist Evergen Systems ...
Dornbracht debuts Rainmoon wellness shower concept at  Salone del Mobile
Rainmoon is a multi-sensory wellness experience designed to revitalise and reinvigorate the user
Lauren Heath-Jones
Dornbracht, a German-based luxury bathroom specialist, has launched an innovative new shower experience, Rainmoon. Slated as the next generation of ...
Empex Watertoys partners with Singapore architecture firm on new splash park
Buds is a new splash park that caters to children aged 12 and under
Lauren Heath-Jones
Empex Watertoys has partnered with Singapore landscape architecture firm Playpoint Singapore Pte to create Buds, an exciting new splash park ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates