Guggenheim Foundation Announces 1,715 Submissions Received for Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition


Guggenheim Foundation Announces 1,715 Submissions for Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

Response to Guggenheim’s first-ever open, anonymous,
international architectural competition is among largest in history of
design competitions

(HELSINKI, September 17, 2014) — The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
announced today that 1,715 confirmed submissions have been received in
response to Stage One of the open, anonymous, international, two-stage
competition for the design of a proposed Guggenheim museum in the
Finnish capital of Helsinki. The submissions represent the largest
number of entries recorded for a competition of this kind, surpassing
the 2002 competition for the Grand Egyptian Museum, which received 1,557
entries, and the largest architectural competition in Helsinki, for the
Helsinki Central Library, which attracted 544 entries in 2012.

Stage One of the competition was open to qualified architects,
including people who have professional degrees in architecture—either
individuals or teams—from anywhere in the world. Anonymous submissions
were due September 10, 2014, and were received from 77 countries,
according to voluntary data provided by 70 percent of competitors. The
United States, Italy, Finland, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan
represent the top six countries from which submissions were received.

“When we launched the competition for the design of the proposed
Guggenheim Helsinki, we hoped that it would inspire architects
everywhere—emerging and established alike—to imagine what the museum of
the twenty-first century could be and catalyze a global exchange of
ideas about architecture and its traditions, urbanism, public buildings,
and the future of cities,” says Richard Armstrong, Director of the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “We are awed and humbled by
the tremendous response to the call for entries, and we look forward to
engaging in a full and public exploration of the submissions in the
coming months.”

Launched on June 4 and 5 with events in Helsinki and at the Venice
Architecture Biennale, the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition is a
first for the Guggenheim, which has not previously sought a museum
design through an open competition. It also marks a key milestone in the
Guggenheim’s long engagement with architecture and design, which
includes landmark buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry as
well as a first-of-its-kind, mobile, carbon-fiber structure by Atelier
Bow-Wow created for the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a pioneering global
initiative that took the Guggenheim’s educational mission into the
streets of New York, Berlin, and Mumbai with free public programming and
city projects related to issues of urban life.

“The response to the competition has been magnificent, and we are
impressed by the level of effort and care taken by competitors in making
their submissions,” says competition organizer Malcolm Reading,
president of London-based Malcolm Reading Consultants. “Finland’s
impeccable design pedigree, the Guggenheim Foundation’s steadfast
commitment to this initiative, and a rare site at the symbolic gateway
to the city from the sea are all elements that shape this fascinating
project and have combined to attract and motivate architects from
extremely diverse cultural backgrounds.”

“With the Finnish heritage of design and our tradition of open
competition, it is very positive that Helsinki is at the center of this
global conversation,” says Helsinki mayor Jussi Pajunen. “We expect that
the submissions—both from Finland and abroad—will have much to tell us
about the transformative power of architecture.”

Jury Process
As the next step in the
competition, the independent, eleven-member competition jury will meet
in Helsinki in early November to review the Stage One submissions and
choose the top six entries to continue to Stage Two of the competition.
Selected by the Guggenheim, the State of Finland, the City of Helsinki,
and the Finnish Society of Architects (SAFA), the wide-ranging jury
includes practicing and academic architects and urbanists, arts
practitioners, and local experts on urban issues and planning,
sustainability, and Helsinki and Finnish politics.

Competitors were asked to submit innovative and creative designs
demonstrating strong connections to Helsinki’s historic city center,
South Harbor, and its urban context while reflecting Nordic ideals.
Submissions will be judged anonymously on the basis of their
architectural design, relationship to the site and the cityscape,
practicality for users, sustainability (including criteria for the use
of materials), and feasibility, according to the guidelines established
in the competition brief.

“The response to this competition affirms the unique ability of
architecture to ignite imagination and promote continuous public
dialogue about what we want our cities and built environment to be,”
says jury chair Mark Wigley, professor and former dean of the Graduate
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia
University. “As jurors, we are privileged with the responsibility of
assessing the submitted concepts and are excited to explore their
potential for Helsinki and for museum design at large.”

Announcement of Short List 
The shortlisted
entries will be presented in Helsinki at a media event on December 2,
2014. In accordance with European Union procurement rules, shortlisted
teams or individuals will be named but will not be matched to their
designs. Shortlisted designers will be invited to visit the proposed
museum site in Helsinki in December and will have until March 2015 to
make final submissions.

Winning Selection
The winning design will be
announced in June 2015. The winner will be awarded a prize of €100,000
(approximately $136,000). The five runners-up each will receive €55,000
(approximately $75,000).

Public Programs and Engagement
Throughout the
fall and winter, the public will have several opportunities to explore
the Stage One response and submissions as well as other topics related
to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition and museum architecture:

part of a series of competition-related programs initiated in
collaboration with the Guggenheim Foundation for a Museum of the Future
course, Aalto University in Helsinki will welcome Joel Sanders,
professor adjunct, Yale School of Architecture, for a public lecture on
September 24 at 5 pm. Competition juror Juan Herreros, chair professor
at the School of Architecture of Madrid and professor at the Graduate
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia
University, will speak on October 30 at 6 pm. Both lectures will be held
in the Department of Architecture at Aalto University, Otakaari 1 X,
auditorium A1.
On October 7, the Guggenheim Foundation will host its inaugural Wikipedia edit-a-thon,
welcoming Wikipedians, architects, architectural scholars, members of
the media, and museum members and staff to expand and enhance the topic
of museum architecture on Wikipedia and discuss the impact of new museum
buildings, expansions, and renovations and the effect of museum design
on the presentation of art and the audience experience. The event will
be held from 2-8 pm in the New Media Theater at the Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum in New York. Speakers include William Menking, founder
and editor-in-chief, The Architect’s Newspaper, and Cara
Cragan, Director of Architectural Projects, Helsinki and Abu Dhabi,
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and Amanda Parmer, curator and owner
of Parmer.
On October 15, Joel
Sanders, professor adjunct, Yale School of Architecture, will lead a
panel discussion on the Guggenheim Helsinki competition and the future
of museum architecture to be held at the Center for Architecture as part
of New York City’s fourth annual, month-long 
Archtober festival
of architecture activities, programs, and exhibitions. Panelists will
include competition jury members Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and
Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim
Foundation, and Jeanne Gang, founder and principal, Studio Gang
Architects, as well as Cara Cragan, Director of Architectural Projects,
Helsinki and Abu Dhabi, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
In late October, an online gallery of submitted entries will be launched on the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition website
and will include opportunities for the public to identify and share
their top selections. The competition website has been viewed by more
than 77,000 visitors globally since its launch on June 4, 2014.

The Guggenheim Helsinki Live series, initiated in October 2013 to
invite public discussion and exploration of ideas related to the
proposed museum project, will continue through spring 2015 with events
in Helsinki and in other Finnish cities. Also planned for spring 2015 is
an exhibition of shortlisted proposals to be presented in Helsinki.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to
promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the
modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education
programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network
that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New
York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since
expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997) and the
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). Looking to the future,
the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international
collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design
beyond the walls of the museum, including with the Guggenheim UBS MAP
Global Art Initiative, and with The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation
Chinese Art Initiative. More information about the foundation can be
found at

About Malcolm Reading Consultants
A specialist
in architectural competitions for museums and arts, heritage, and
nonprofit organizations, the London-based Malcolm Reading Consultants
(MRC) has run architectural competitions for the Victoria and Albert
Museum, the Glasgow School of Art, the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo,
and the Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow, among others. MRC
believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and to act as
an inspiration. The consultancy’s role in the Guggenheim Helsinki Design
Competition includes liaising with stakeholders at the Guggenheim
Foundation, the City of Helsinki, the State of Finland, and the Finnish
Association of Architects (SAFA), and ensuring absolute independence in
the competition process. For more information, visit