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Finnish Guggenheim - officially most popular architectural contest ever


The international competition to design the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki has attracted more entries than any other architectural contest in history

Competition organiser Malcolm Reading Consultants confirmed it had received 1,715 anonymous submissions from nearly 80 countries for the €130 million job.

The extraordinary interest puts it ahead of the previous title holder, the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza contest, which drew 1557 entries from 82 countries and was eventually won by Heneghan Peng in 2003.

The Pompidou contest in 1970, which was famously scooped by then unknowns Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, attracted 681 entries.

Malcolm Reading said there had been ‘a very significant number’ of UK submissions for the 12,000m² museum in the Finnish capital.

The eleven-member jury led by dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Mark Wigley will meet in early November to review all the stage one entries - every one of which will be published online - with just six expected to make it through to the second stage. The shortlist will be unveiled on 6 December.

Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said he had been ‘awed and humbled’ by the response.

The Finnish Association of Architects, the City of Helsinki and the State of Finland will assist the Guggenheim Foundation which will organise the privately funded selection process.

Meanwhile a rival ideas competition has been launched seeking ‘bold and thoughtful’ alternatives to the Guggenheim.

The contest is backed by independent arts organisations, together with architect and writer Michael Sorkin, and seeks alternative ideas for the museum’s South Harbour site that would ‘more fully meet the city’s cultural, spatial, and sustainability needs.’


Competitors were asked to submit innovative and creative designs demonstrating strong connections to Helsinki’s historic city centre, South Harbor, and its urban context while reflecting Nordic ideals.
Submissions will be judged anonymously on the basis of their architectural design, relationship to the site and the cityscape, practicality for users, sustainability (including criteria for the use of materials), and feasibility, according to the guidelines established in the competition brief.



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