Helsinki City Councillors Reject Guggenheim Helsinki Plan

In result of 5 hours of discussion and a referendum on the matter as to whether there will be a Guggenheim Museum in the city of Helsinki, the 150€ million plan has been scrapped. The proposal of the museum has been in the air since 2011, with an international competition which included 1700 architects having already taken place. The winner was Moreau Kusunoki Architectes (Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki).

©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images

Of the budget for 150€ million, the city of Helsinki would have been required to provide 80€ million of that budget. Helsinki Deputy Mayor Ritva Viljanen, who supported the scheme has stated that the democratic process must be respected and that those planners and supporters of the Guggenheim Helsinki must accept the result of the vote against the project.

©Antti Kolppo/YLE
©Antti Kolppo/YLE

Ritva Viljanen.

Chairman of the Guggenheim Helsinki Support Foundation, Ari Lahti expressed regret over the possible benefits that a Guggenheim Helsinki would have made for the city and Finland. The Basic Finn political party ruled out any state funding for the project in September 2016.

Finnish supporters of the project, whom pride the country for it’s design aesthetic, have felt that such a monument would be fitting. However others have felt that a Guggenheim would be a franchise from the “McDonald’s of Art”. The use of the name from the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation would come with a €18.4 million fee.

Finland has been affected by financial crisis since 2010.

Helsinki is the home to art venues Kiasma, Ateneum, Helsinki Art Museum (HAM; formerly know as Tennis Palace). The Guardian reported that Mr Lahti stated:

“Unfortunately, it’s all become very political, if the Guggenheim Helsinki had been mooted before the crisis, I have no doubt that it would have been built by now. But times have changed; the whole situation has changed.”

©Lasse Lehtinen/Uusi Suomi
©Lasse Lehtinen/Uusi Suomi

Ari Lahti.

©artefactorylab/Moreau Kusonoki
©artefactorylab/Moreau Kusunoki Architectes
©Moreau Kusonoki Architectes
©Moreau Kusunoki Architectes
©Bruno Levy & Julien Weill
©Bruno Levy/Julien Weill

Nicholas Moreau & Hiroko Kusunoki.

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