Helsinki City Museum forms hub of historic quarter following €11m revamp

by Tom Anstey | 16 May 2016

The reimagined Helsinki City Museum in Finland has reopened to the public following an €11m (US$12.4m, £8.7m) refurbishment and expansion of its new premises.

Moving from its former home in Helsinki’s historical district to a new location in Senate Square, the 105-year-old museum now occupies five historical buildings surrounding three inner courtyards, opening up spaces never previously accessible to the public.

The 18-month renovation by Arkkitehdit Davidsson Tarkela incorporates the Children’s Town exhibition at Sederholm House. The museum is also working with the Hakasalmi Villa, the Burgher’s House, the Worker Housing Museum and the Tram Museum, which are part of the City Museum's portfolio.

The buildings of the block date from the 1750s to the 1920s. One 1960s building inside the block has been demolished and replaced by a new build, providing better access. The facade of the new building is coated with copper mesh – a material which will darken and turn greener over time.

Details from different eras have been preserved everywhere within Davidsson Tarkela’s masterplan, with elements of each renovated building retained as part of the museum experience. Construction was handled by HKR-Rakennuttaja and the main contractor was PylonRakennus.

The museum’s opening programme, titled Helsinki Bites dives into the history of the city, with a collection of photographs and historical items, telling the story of Helsinki through resident’s personal stories, even including a recreation of a 1950s home.

One of the museum’s key exhibits will be Time Machine, a virtual reality space sending visitors “back in time” to a realistic version of Helsinki in the past. Software company Futurice handled service design and the technological solutions as a partner in the project.

As part of the reopening, the institution is also housing The Museum of Broken Relationships, a travelling exhibition by the Croatian artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišic, which exhibits sentimental objects from former partners.

Wider Helsinki is also undergoing a cultural transformation, spurred on by the €126m (£100m, US$160.5m) Guggenheim development. In addition to the landmark project, Helsinki is also redeveloping its central library to be completed in 2018, while the new-and-improved Helsinki City Museum is also providing a platform for collective and individual activity that connects the past, present and future Helsinki.

The museum is part of the wider regeneration of Helsinki’s Tori Quarters. The area between Market Square and Senate Square is being developed by Leijona Oy to become a diverse platform for city life, business, events and experimental culture. Historical buildings of the area, used mainly for administration offices for more than four decades, are now being renovated, opening up new spaces for businesses, residents and tourists, with work set to be completed towards the end of 2017.

Helsinki City Museum  Helsinki  Finland  Arkkitehdit Davidsson Tarkela  HKR-Rakennuttaja  museum  gallery  
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Reimagined Helsinki City Museum sets May opening date

The reimagined Helsinki City Museum in Finland has reopened to the public following an €11m (US$12.4m, £8.7m) refurbishment and expansion of its new premises. Moving from its former home in Helsinki’s historical district to a new location in Senate Square, the 105-year-old museum now occupies five historical buildings surrounding three inner courtyards, opening up spaces never previously accessible to the public. The 18-month renovation by Arkkitehdit Davidsson Tarkela incorporates the
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The 105-year-old museum now occupies five historical buildings / Helsinki City Museum
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