Saturday. 28.01.2023

Helsinki wants to build the world's best museum of architecture and design

The museum will be built by the South Harbour as part of a comprehensive development of that area

Helsinki by Tapio Haaja
Image by Tapio Haaja

The concept plan for Helsinki’s envisaged new museum of architecture and design has been completed, announced the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in a press release.

"According to the plan, the world’s best museum of architecture and design will be built in Helsinki", says the release. By displaying its collections and telling its stories, the museum will show how the choices of architects and designers have moulded the world that we share.

The museum intends to bring people together and simultaneously to bring architecture and design into the societal discourse as a means to solve the great problems of the future. The museum aims a sparking the notion to perceive the world from the architect’s point of view: you can do everything differently, better.

According to the information published by the Finnish Government, the museum’s objective is to be user oriented, actively open and ambitiously experimental. The heart of the museum will be made up of a core exhibition that combines architecture and design, the most important and the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries. Design will not be put on display only, but visitors will also be able to try it as it is was originally created: something to hold, grasp and touch.

Thanks to new technology, visitors will also be able to experience planning that still does not exist and test futuristic solutions virtually. "The museum will be a platform, a partner and a node for cooperation between players, trades and users within the sphere of architecture and design", says the Ministry of Education and culture.

Planning started in autumn 2018

The concept planning was initiated in the autumn of 2018 by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the City of Helsinki together with the foundations for the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The plan was drafted by CEO Tuomas Auvinen, senior resarcher Outi Kuittinen and museum expert Ulla Teräs.

A steering group that consisted of representatives of the government, the municipality and the museums assisted with the concept planning. The work was preceded by a report that was released in August 2018 and that dealt with the question of the prerequisites for implementation and the necessary measures.

To be built by the South Harbour

Alongside with the concept planning, the ministry and the City of Helsinki have been preparing a joint perception of possible models for carrying out the project. According to the proposal, a foundation will be established to form the basis for the museum. The foundations behind the existing museums should also merge into the new foundation. Additionally, a company should be established to run the museum.

The museum should be built in the South Harbour area as part of a comprehensive development of that area. Further studies about the premises, the economy and the administration will be needed to advance the project. The preparatory work is intended to continue over the spring, says the Ministry of Education in the release.

A project "positively received"

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the City of Helsinki will, jointly with the management of the existing museums, make a decision about carrying on with the preparation of the model for implementation.

"Finland deserves to have a world-class museum of architecture and design. There is an excellent opportunity and support for realising it in Helsinki. This has become evident during our deliberations. Finland is famous for its architecture and its design. You can build on this reputation and thus spur development and growth within the industry. The new museum draws on tradition, but challenges the habitual museum experience and helps visitors see future alternatives. In this way it will add to the awareness about Helsinki and the city’s attraction as the world’s most functional city", asserts CEO Tuomas Auvinen, who headed the project committee.

The minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport, Sampo Terho, declared that "I am satisfied that the concept planning of the new museum that I started last autumn has advanced well. The importance of architecture and design to the Finns is recognised, and the new museum is largely felt to be necessary. This is indicated by the fact that the project has been positively received".

The mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, pointed out that "the city is prepared to promote the construction of a new museum in Helsinki in line with the concept plan, on the condition that there is agreement among the various partners about the funding and the advancement of the project. It is essential that the city invests in world-class content and experiences, not in walls only. The city appreciates the maritime character of the South Harbour area and the development of this area. Choosing to build the museum in this particular area is an opportunity for the city to develop a new kind of urban space in the heart of the city".

Helsinki wants to build the world's best museum of architecture and design