In June, Parisian architecture firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes’ beat out 1,714 other submissions for the chance to design a new museum outpost for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in Helsinki. But the victory could end up being merely symbolic, with the project never making it off the boards.
The firm's winning “Art in the City” aimed to enhance the coastal metropolis' life as a hub for arts and culture by humbly integrating the new building into the area’s urban context. Covered in charred wood, the building was to be comprised of interlocking volumes laid out horizontally, in order to weave its way into the capital, where it was going to be anchored by a lookout tower—similar to a small medieval village. But the highly anticipated project’s construction has been abruptly stopped by Finland's government, and has, from the beginning, suffered from a longstanding grief from the country’s public to boot.
According to a story by Reuters reporters Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell, the nation’s co-ruling national Finns party “blocked state aid for its construction,” with a price tag of roughly 140 million euros ($156 million). Since the project's 2012 proposition pushed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Finnish people have considered the museum a waste of taxpayer money, especially in a time when the country has been forced to make cutbacks in public amenities such as welfare and schools.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Finns party opposes the building of the site, however. It just opposes paying for it. According to Finns chairperson Timo Soini’s personal blog, the party agrees with building the museum with private funds, but not the requested 40 million euros (about $45 million) provided by state funding.
The reservation of the waterfront plot of land for the projects is set to expire at the end of the year, making the time needed to find a solution precious, but despite the announcement of the Finns party, the Guggenheim Foundation told Reuters that it is still in talks with the government and the city on the museum.