Guggenheim Helsinki

One of architecture’s most fundamental problems is here scrutinized for an alternate approach that understands the compartmentalization of space as a set of tools, or as objects enveloped in a massively articulated wrapper.

In the tradition of John Hejduk’s 9-square grid problem, the project echoes elements of architectural production present throughout histories such as the Villa Rotonda, the Neue Nationalgalerie, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, all of which utilize the 9-square grid as a device to explore the subdivision of space or the corruption of the same. All these examples are unified by another intrinsically architectural condition: symmetry.

This project exploits the opportunities in this concept in order to achieve two specific qualities: it considers the spatial condition in the interior to be tightly knotted to the nine-fold division of space; the objects in-between (such as large exhibition areas, offices, and so on), however, are of a highly flexible nature. In other words, only the main division walls of the 9-square grid are massive, spanning up to 24m of space—whilst all subdivision walls in-between are highly flexible, allowing for the maximum of freedom in terms of exhibition designs. The project design allows for a twofold experience of the exhibition areas: the core of the exhibition areas allow for fast circulation, for a quick visit; the ring of smaller galleries around the core galleries allows for an expanded, longer visit.

This concept pays respect to Hejduk’s idea to use a grid containing a kit of parts, the main difference being the heretic assimilation of the modern grid by voluptuous organs, ingesting the purely utilitarian rational and simultaneously interrogating them. The motif of object articulation spans from the entrance of the museum landscape to the ceiling of the building.

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