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Finland Blocks Guggenheim Funding

Thursday, September 22, 2016

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A planned Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki is in jeopardy after one of Finland’s ruling parties has said it will refuse to commit government funding to the project.

The Helsinki museum, which would be built according to a design by Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architectes that beat out 1,700 other entries in a contest, would join Guggenheim institutions in New York and Bilbao, Spain, both noted for their architecture as well as their art collections. A Guggenheim is also planned for Abu Dhabi.

Lack of Support

The Guggenheim Helsinki plan was first announced in 2011, but the first proposal was shot down by Helsinki’s city board. After a regroup, the design contract was awarded to Moreau Kusunoki in June 2015 amid controversy about the museum’s $147 million price tag. The Finnish government, according to the museum proposal, was to provide about $45 million.

Guggenheim Helsinki rendering
Renderings: Moreau Kusunoki

The proposed design features a glass and charred-wood facade, dual-flow ventilation, insulation from the outside, and triple glazing for energy efficiency.

But a leader of the Finns party, one of three parties in the country’s ruling coalition, has now said unequivocally that his party will not consider funding the building.

“There will be no state money for this venture,” the party’s Timo Soini said in a short, blunt blog post, translated by The Guardian. “The matter will not even be raised during coalition budget talks. I hope this is now clear for our coalition partners.”

'We Remain Committed'

Air Wiseman, of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, told The New York Times, “We are a little less optimistic than we were a few months ago but we remain committed and understand there are other ways to move the project forward.”

Redering of Guggenheim Helsinki at night

The design contract was awarded to Moreau Kusunoki in June 2015 amid controversy about the museum’s $147 million price tag.

The Times reports that local fundraising has garnered about 20 million euros of the 26 million required to license the Guggenheim name.

Museum Architecture

The Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, respectively. The Gehry-designed Abu Dhabi museum was originally set to open in 2017, but as of earlier this year, reports indicated that construction had yet to begin.

Moreau Kusunoki Architectes is headed by principals Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki, a husband-and-wife team who started the firm in 2011. The firm has worked in Japan and Europe. 

Their proposed design features a glass and charred-wood facade, dual-flow ventilation, insulation from the outside, and triple glazing for energy efficiency, according to an outline on the firm’s website.

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Funding; Government

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