Revealing plans for new museum dedicated to architecture and design

March 29, 2021

Finland announces the next steps for planning a new museum for architecture and design in Helsinki. Photo courtesy Ilmakuvaus Ruohonen[1]
Finland announces the next steps for planning a new museum for architecture and design in Helsinki.
Photo courtesy Ilmakuvaus Ruohonen

Finland’s plan to build a new museum for architecture and design has taken a new step as the Ministry of Education and Culture, along with the City of Helsinki, have established a new project organization to coordinate the museum’s planning.

Kaarina Gould—former program director of Helsinki’s World Design Capital year in 2012 and current executive director of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York—has been appointed to lead the project.  A steering group has been formed to supervise the project.

The new museum will merge two existing facilities, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum, and function as the national museum in these fields. Once established, the museum of architecture and design will be housed in a new building, constructed in the South Harbour of Helsinki. An architecture competition for the museum is planned for a later stage of the project.

The decision to move ahead with the new museum is based on in-depth surveys and an initial concept plan drawn up in 2018–2019 by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the City of Helsinki, and the two museums. During the preliminary planning phase, a management and funding model for the museum was also formed.

This year, a foundation will be established for the new museum to manage the present collections. Museum operations will be coordinated by a limited liability company, which will be fully owned by the foundation. The state of Finland and the City of Helsinki are expected to provide equal shares of capital to the museum foundation.

“The revival of cultural activities along with sustainable growth provide a path toward a brighter future,” said Anita Lehikoinen, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

“Architecture and design are our strengths, and they play an important part in providing sustainable solutions for society. The new museum brings together unique content, competence, and creativity. We are working towards a world-class architecture and design museum with a concept that fosters new experiences and insight.”

“This new stage on the path to the realization of the New Architecture and Design Museum has been prepared with great care. We are happy to start working with the project organization, as we now move forward with the outlines for the operating principles, core contents, and guidelines for the new building and museum,” said museum directors Carina Jaatinen (Museum of Finnish Architecture) and Jukka Savolainen (Design Museum). “Architecture and design are Finnish strengths, which have helped in realizing the values of the Nordic welfare model. The new museum can lead the way and encourage us to discuss, learn, and experience different ways of building a new model of the future welfare state.”

The next stage is to produce a comprehensive plan that will allow the funders to make final decisions on the implementation of the project. This phase of the project, led by Gould, will launch on May 1, and is expected to last until late 2023. Gould, experienced with large scale international projects and initiatives, will work alongside the teams of the two museums, the organizations of the City of Helsinki, and the Ministry of Education and Culture to secure the foundations for building a pioneering museum of international caliber.

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