Helsinki, Finland
Sep. 2014
Museum for Environmental art and Media Art
Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition


This art museum has a gallery that floats like a cloud for displaying the latest media arts. To capitalize on Finland’s extreme daylight hours–extremely short in winter and extremely long in summer, exhibits feature mainly videos in winter and contemporary art utilizing the sunlight in summer.

Enormous balloons tethered to this museum serve as a backdrop for large installations in summer and as a huge projection surface in winter. By centering on scalable and site-adjustable media arts, the museum is, for the most part, free from physical materials. Singularly unique spaces interactively emerge through artist collaboration that is limited to a time and place.

While the balloons drift like clouds in the rich hues of summer, nighttime video displays can be held outdoors in the winter as the balloons color the Helsinki landscape like an aurora.

An artificial ground, accessible from anywhere on the road, creates a seamless link to the bicycle paths and walkways. From the city, only the wooden deck, balloons and undulating greenery can be seen without any visible architectural bulk. The deck doubles as a port-viewing platform for both tourists and locals.

The museum is located underground in circular patterns, based on the areas required for the programs, core facilities, structure and top light. A free area above ground is designed as a public park for outdoor art exhibits, installations and events. Although the main entrance is on the port side, the museum and viewing platform can be freely accessed from the park road. To enjoy the changing seasons in the themed circular gardens, there are 16 different types of trees in concave sections and 30 types of flowering plants in flat sections.

The 20-meter span slab foundation undulates with an earthen mound and a large deck on the flat area for gathering people. Indirect indoor lighting and upper illumination in the circular, outdoor periphery guides the flow of people. In contrast to the reinforced concrete foundation, a vast and airy usable space is created by installing light balloons.

A helium gas duct and a supplemental wood pellet burner are installed together with a projector for inflating the balloons with a combination of gas and hot air. Triple-layered balloon envelopes approximate the minimal surface of an inverted water drop to minimize heat dissipation and give the distinctively shaped balloons their stable, aerial forms.

As natural light is heavily used in summer and video images in winter, basic lighting is limited in the gallery with gradational shading. The burner fosters the use of woody biomass in heavily forested Finland, even while its heat provides warmth and an inviting atmosphere outdoors. With time, this architecture matures as a park, creating continuity with the adjoining forest and an environment that links the sea and the city.

A massive construction is ill-suited to this historic location. With a permanent public park as its foundation, this architecture is temporary and light while possessing vast amounts of usable space, drifts harmoniously with the Finnish climate and creates a new Helsinki landscape.














気球を設置する開口部にはバーナーとプロジェクターを設置し、熱気球の仕組みで膨らませ、それに対して映像をプロジェクションさせる。球皮は二層構造とし、そこにバーナーで熱した空気が上昇して膨らむ。水滴を逆さまにしたようなminimal surfaceに近づけた立体裁断とすることで、熱の発散を最小限にし、空中で安定に保つ形態としながら、各々の気球が固有性のある形態とする。