Helsinki Guggenheim Museum

Honourable mention


The proposal find its inspiration in the identity of the site, but also, on a larger scale, in the Finnish tradition.

The new Guggenheim will outstand from the background of the city preserving at the same time a very strong connection with the context history and imaginary: it resemble with its shape the typical warehouses, the serial wooden buildings which are usually part of the harbour landscape. But on a wider view the wooden volumes hosted under the big roof resemble the small house in the woods.

Thanks to the smaller scale and the materiality of these volumes and the overall transparency of the building, the museum will establish a strong dialogue with the natural background of the park,

allowing at the same time the view of the city elevation.


The proposal establishes a very strong relation with the public realm, enhancing the role of the open spaces and in general of the Nordic ideals of openness and accessibility. First of all arriving from the city centre a very soft ramp invite people to enter in the museum; next to it an open air theatre allows different uses of the city public realm.

In general the proposal provides a system of public spaces which involves - together with the ramp and theatre - the lobby, the double height atrium, the restaurant and the retail area, finally the outside space on the first floor for outside site-specific exhibition and performance. This multipurpose public system give to the building an important and central civic role.


The museum lay out is very simple and its is based on two concept:

-     on a clear separation of the public and service circulation from the exhibition spaces;

-     on the duality between the strong role of the central atrium, which maximize the social interactions, and the sequence of the exhibition galleries, flexible in their use but all very neutral in shape and more private.

Thanks to these simple principles the building allows multiple uses; beyond the galleries, which can host any exhibition, the central core and the outside spaces can host and site-specific event and exhibition. The new Guggenheim will support social interactions and experience of art.


High reduction of energy demand is achieved by: 

 -    bioclimatic buffer spaces (greenhouses) that maximize solar gain in the cold period and natural ventilation in summer; 

-     three distinct climatic zones to modulate energy loads depending on uses (offices, museum, atrium); 

-     using hydrothermic plants and Phase Change Materials.

The external shading structure has three functions: a) maximize the day lighting through reflecting material; b) provide renewal energy thanks to an integrated photovoltaic film; c) distribute the hot air obtained by the greenhouse effect. Rainwater and water due to the melting of the snow are recycled for indoor use. Building materials are natural and free of hazardous substances. 

The setting allows to reach the LEED gold certification or higher.



Client: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Location: Helsinki
Programme: museum
Status: Design competition
Dates: 2014
Design: Labics (group Leader Maria Claudia Clemente, Francesco Isidori)
Project team: Onorato Di Manno, Federico Pitzalis, Andrea Salvatore
Consultant: Sustainability: Eliana Cangelli

International competition - Honourable mention