Stage Two Jury Statement

The jury met in May 2015 to review the six final designs and choose the winning submission.

Above: Juan Herreros, Mikko Aho, Helena Säteri, Rainer Mahlamäki, Anssi Lassila, Ritva Viljanen, Erkki Leppävuori, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Jeanne Gang, Nancy Spector, Mark Wigley (Chair). Photo: Riitta Supperi


The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition Jury met in Helsinki from Saturday, May 23 through Monday, May 25, 2015 to assess the six finalists’ Stage Two schemes. The Jury was provided with a report by the Supporting Panel, summarizing the analysis of each scheme from a planning, technical, cost and operational viewpoint. The Panel represented the combined expert opinion of specialists from the City of Helsinki, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and external consultants in engineering and cost management. Details of its members are given at the end of this statement.

The Decision

The Jury selected entry GH-04380895, ‘Art in the City’, as the winner of the competition.

The Jury considered the proposal should be a starting point for further discussion and refinement with the City of Helsinki, the State of Finland, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Entry GH-1128435973, ‘Two-in-One Museum’ was designated as the runner-up.

Crediting of Designs

In observance of European Union and Finnish procurement rules, all submissions were kept strictly anonymous throughout the process. After the conclusion of the deliberations, the names of the participants were revealed to the Jury:

GH-04380895 Art in the City Moreau Kusunoki Architectes
GH-1128435973 Two-in-One Museum agps architecture
The following teams in alphabetical order:  
GH-121371443 Quiet Animal Asif Khan
GH-5059206475 47 Rooms Fake Industries Architectural Agonism
    (Cristina Goberna, Urtzi Grau)
    Jorge Lopez, Conde Carmen Blanco
    and Alvaro Carrillo
GH-76091181 Helsinki Five HaasCookZemmrich STUDIO2050
GH-5631681770 Guggenheim Commons   SMAR Architecture Studio

Stage Two Jury Process

Each of the six finalists submitted eight A1 boards, a 1:200 detail model, a 1:500 context model, and a narrative booklet. The Jury room was laid in six ‘stations’, displaying these elements. The 1:500 city model of Helsinki was laid out separately at the back of the room, in order to allow the Jury to view each scheme in context.

Under the direction of the Chair, Mark Wigley, the Jury used a variety of methods to examine, re-examine and critique the six final submissions, referring to the Brief, the Essential Criteria (cityscape, architecture, and usability), and the Technical Criteria (sustainability and feasibility).

The Jury concentrated on the progression of schemes since Stage One, considering whether the teams had taken account of the detailed feedback provided at the second stage, and the additional briefing made collectively by the City of Helsinki and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation during the site visit to Helsinki, 14 – 16 January, 2015.

During Day One, the Jury undertook a period of familiarization and considered both the positive and negative aspects of each scheme in turn.

On Day Two, the Jury completed a detailed and in-depth analysis of each individual scheme, and considered the buildings’ 1:500 models within the context of the city model.  Preliminary rankings of the six schemes were made.

On Day Three, the Jury discussed and deliberated between the proposals until only two remained in contention towards the end of the day: Art in the City, and Two in One Museum. After further analysis and debate, the Jury agreed by majority to make a winner award and credit the runner-up.  

Throughout the proceedings, the Jury remained open-minded, and refreshed their thinking from many angles, considering the technical and sustainability aspects, as well as the impact on the cityscape and what each scheme offered to the citizens of Helsinki.

The Jury recognized that the competition period was a concept design phase, and noted that each scheme had the potential for development.

The finalists were thanked in absentia by the Jury for their hard work and thoughtful submissions; each scheme had contributed positively to the Jury discussions. The Jury identified the high quality of the presentations, and the generous detail offered to the Jury for their analysis, notably in some of the narrative booklets.

Winner: GH-04380895, ‘Art in the City’, by Moreau Kusunoki Architectes

The scheme proposed a collection of linked pavilions, each orientated to respect the city grid, and anchored by a lookout tower. The building would cohere around a covered street landscape that expanded and contracted according to its interaction with the discrete pavilions and is animated by different activities. The Jury found the design deeply respectful of the site and setting, creating a fragmented, non-hierarchical, horizontal campus of linked pavilions where art and society could meet and inter-mingle. The connections between the pavilions have been well considered to permit a continuous gallery experience, if required.

The waterfront, park and city each had a dialogue with the building yet the forms and materials were distinctive and contemporary, without being iconic. The drawings were imbued with a sense of community and animation that matched the ambitions of the brief to honour both the people of Finland and the creation of the museum of the future.

It was recognized that further work would be needed to resolve vertical circulation, use of the main terrace and the construction of the roof, but these issues were considered to be a normal part of design development and the Jury had confidence in the strength of the design concept. The concept is extremely flexible and is designed to embrace evolving urban, museum, and technological requirements.

Runner-up: GH-1128435973, Two-in-One Museum, by agps architecture

The Jury considered this scheme to be an elegant and strong concept, absorbing the existing terminal and creating a fascinating conversation between old and new. The form and orientation of the building picked up on the strong industrial/ harbor context. The homage to the industrial heritage of the South Harbor was applauded.

The Jury was positive about the concept of re-use of the original terminal building and the resultant architecture was well considered and polished. The scale of the building in the urban setting and its drawn-out horizontal form was striking and well balanced, although the connection between the reused terminal and the elevated gallery bar was not fully resolved.

The interiors were generous, even if the renderings did not communicate the full potential of the respective spaces. It was felt that the long upper open art hall offered a range of options but would ultimately inhibit curatorial programming, and that the lower reused terminal space needed to be much more dynamically organized. But there were agreeable social touches such as the long bar.

There were strong features in this scheme and it remained in consideration until the closing decision. The Jury identified this scheme as the runner-up.

GH-121371443, ‘Quiet Animal’, by Asif Khan

The Jury enjoyed the iconic representation of the building, which was beautifully rendered and presented. The identity of the slip-glazed form was unique and could be a fascinating addition to the waterfront. The technical analysis of structure and cladding were impressive and persuasive.

The form of the building was skillful and had a strong character. However, it was felt that the location of the building on the site and its relationship to the city were not convincing. The roof’s unrealized potential as a public space and the positioning of the fence were perceived as shortcomings. This led the Jury to question if the scheme had developed holistically since Stage One.

The grand hall offered an interesting social potential. The Jury felt the scheme was full of promise but was lacking in sophistication internally, resulting in problems for art display and handling.

GH-5059206475, ‘47 Rooms’, by Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (Cristina Goberna, Urtzi Grau), Jorge Lopez Conde, Carmen Blanco and  Alvaro Carrillo

Conceptually, the building offered a fascinating commentary on climate and the role of the museum in exploring this. The careful re-use of the existing buildings on site and sensitive planning of new additions was well thought-out but lacked a convincing architectural articulation.

Technically, the building structure and arrangement was well presented and the low-level, single story design was humane, responsible, flexible, and anti-monumental.

Ultimately, however, it was felt that the strength and relevance of the proposition would not endure. The narrow temperature range within the normal human comfort span would need to be explained rather than be experienced and other criteria would need to drive the organization and experience.

GH-76091181, ‘Helsinki Five’, by HaasCookZemmrich STUDIO2050

The Jury understood the building to be a landmark, architecturally-orientated museum with interesting notions about bringing green spaces to the water’s edge – a principle that was felt to be very relevant to the future of the city.

The inner courtyard could be a very memorable space. However, the scheme relied on convoluted internal circulation and a complicated arrangement of gallery space that would be a challenge to navigate and operate without offering substantially new opportunities for curating and encountering art.  The external spaces were lively yet ultimately disconnected from the building,

The wooden shingles were an exceptionally attractive part of the design, with local relevance, but the Jury questioned if the technical issues related to maintenance and replacement had been appropriately addressed.

GH-5631681770, ‘Guggenheim Commons’, by SMAR Architecture Studio

The Jury enjoyed the underlying architectural concept of the building as an engine of creativity – using the tension between street and gallery to create content and animate space.

The glowing façade, animated street and programmed spaces could be spectacular, although there were strong concerns that this scheme would not have the outcome anticipated when the climate and social conditions in Helsinki had been taken into account (for much of the year the street would be inhospitable).

The elevated gallery landscapes and the interpenetration of the street and internal gallery spaces were highly appreciated. The presentation was lively and detailed (especially the models), but the design failed to develop resolutions for key functional and operational issues raised by the concept.


The Jury Chair warmly thanked the Jurors for their attention and dedication to the task and described the experience of chairing the process as an honor.  Deputy Mayor and juror Ritva Viljanen repaid the compliment, thanking the Chair for his efforts over the course of the competition.

Background Notes:

Membership of the Supporting Panel was as follows:

City of Helsinki – commenting on planning, urban design and traffic and transportation (Mikko Aho, Director of City Planning, Architect; Ilpo Forssen, Project Manager, Architect/City Center Project; Janne Prokkola, Head of Unit, Architect; Ulla Kuitunen, Project Manager, Architect; Tuomas Hakala, Project Manager, Architect; Valtteri Heinonen, Architect)

Core Five – cost analysis (Stephen Pickersgill, Simon Downing)

Malcolm Reading Consultants – scheme summaries and management of the Panel process (David Hamilton)

Ramboll OY Finland – commenting on structural engineering (Eero Pekkari, David Burns), mechanical engineering (Timo Svahn), electrical engineering (Hannu Virkkunen), and sustainability (Paula Rantanen, Markku Ahonen) (Project Director, Reijo Sandberg)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation – commenting on Technical (Rich Avery), Curatorial (Tracey Bashkoff, Susan Davidson, Nancy Spector), Exhibition Design (Melanie Taylor), Art Circulation (Mary Louise Napier), and Facilities/General Operations (Megan Chusid)