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

by Jason Holland | 20 Apr 2015

A museum of the welfare state and a collection of artistic spaces that span the harbour waterfront are among the shortlisted projects in the competition to find better alternatives to the proposed Guggenheim development in Helsinki.

Eight entries have been selected by The Next Helsinki competition jury, with the aim of showcasing the “variety and depth” of the 217 submissions received. Architect Michael Sorkin, who initiated the project and is jury chair, said he was hoping to disseminate the proposals as widely as possible as a prelude to an exhibition, and to “match-making with local actors and organisations”.

‘Parc art Helsinki’, designed by Pedro Carrasco Zanini Sánchez and Lucía Gutierrez Vazquez, seeks to unify Helsinki’s parks with a network of both permanent and temporary artistic spaces. It would be a low-cost alternative to the Guggenheim and would be open to emerging local artists.

Another shortlisted proposal, ‘Museum of the Welfare State’ from Marco Giovannone, suggests a series of six museums in memorable and engaging buildings showcasing the tradition of Finnish social security public policies.

Many of the proposals seek to champion local artists and the community, with ideas including the creation of a summer festival celebrating the 80+ museums already located within the city, or dividing the South Harbor area into cultural districts.

Announcing the competition results, Sorkin highlighted the unifying theme behind the proposals. “We initiated this project out of a sense of both outrage and love. Outrage at the march of the homogenising multi-national brand culture emblematised by the imperial Guggenheim franchise – the cultural equivalent of Starbucks – was what launched us,” he said. “The feeling of love came from our mutual affection for Helsinki, from a sense that it is a singular place, unique in setting, form, and culture.”

Sorkin said the entries successfully responded to questions of how the arts might be most widely and productively encouraged while “thinking about the future of Helsinki at many scales and in many conceptual registers”.

The full shortlist can be viewed here, while all competition entries can be seen here.

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A museum of the welfare state and a collection of artistic spaces that span the harbour waterfront are among the shortlisted projects in the competition to find better alternatives to the proposed Guggenheim development in Helsinki. Eight entries have been selected by The Next Helsinki competition jury, with the aim of showcasing the “variety and depth” of the 217 submissions received. Architect Michael Sorkin, who initiated the project and is
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