There are multiple public routes into the museum moving from ferry terminals along a wooden promenade deck under the suspended floating glass galleries or directly from Market Square into the lobby on the quayside - all to engage with art. In constructing the museum we have taken apart the harbor warehouse and wharf to provide for an open public deck inserted between the museum base and a platform of glasshouses with expandable wooden exhibition boxes and skylights suspended above.
We are balancing the need for a low modest structure that does not block views towards and from Tähtitornin vuori Park by placing the bulk of the museum in a base under a public deck while offering an iconic floating lighthouse as a gateway to the harbor. From across the harbor the museum is a seasonally reconfigured silhouette. It comes alive in different ways that involve varying audiences throughout year - more compact and intimate in cold winter months for the community, opening up in summer to expose tourists as well locals to sun and breezes.
In this way a greater sense of seasons and an acute awareness of immediate surroundings permeates the building as both a response to weather and evolving art and design programing. Display boxes with calibrated angled cutouts providing sufficient protection against natural sunlight are opened or closed depending on the desired exhibition. These changing spatial arrangements with views into and out the building are evident from the exterior as a different museum each time the public visits, and is in keeping with the busy and robust surrounding warehouses and terminals that served the industrial development of Helsinki as they do currently for the cultural revitalization of Eteläsatama.
The public museum spaces - design store, café/bar, restaurant, classroom/laboratory and performance hall - are always open and accessible to the quay of the surrounding harbor. Similarly the wooden promenade above always allows pedestrians from the ferry terminals and park to traverse the site with views into the multipurpose zone and glass exhibition vitrines. -
Because exhibitions of contemporary art are multidisciplinary and always evolving, what are required are maximum flexibility and great variety of spaces with varying volumes and lighting conditions to enable different presentations. The wooden boxes in the glasshouses expand or contract into a number of display configurations to accommodate specific conditions - scales, sequences and spaces - required for exhibitions in various mediums. Different gallery box components are shifted within this container and locked into the required combination of environments - clustered, linear, stacked, even absent.
These Floating light skylight galleries and vitrines encourage different ways of experiencing contemporary art and design. From the darker base gallery allowing video projection to the natural light glasshouses above for objects and landscape installations, multiple and new connections are made between art and audience, and the dynamic urban rooftop of skylights and terraces frame spectacular views of the city as visitors are able to look back across the harbor in a completely different way.