Töölönlahti architecture experience
The architectural decisions made in the design of the museum of contemporary art Kiasma have been under enthusiastic debate for a good while now. For some, Kiasma came and ruined the downtown. For others, Kiasma represents a cheerful improvement to the monotonous landscape of Mannerheimintie.
Whichever view one holds, Steven Holl – Kiasma’s chief architect – has created a museum space that doesn’t lack in surprises. For example, the ceiling of the 5th floor exhibition space is not really a ceiling at all but rather the museum’s east wall that just happens to wrap over the building. Not to mention the multitude of details – often overlooked during visits – hidden inside and behind Kiasma’s walls and structures.
Helsinki Music Centre, the latest addition to the chain of cultural establishments along Töölönlahti and neighbour to Kiasma, opened its doors in 2011. Like Kiasma, the Music Centre is an ambitious architectural project that has polarized opinions nearly as much as Kiasma.
In front of the Music Centre’s impressive glass-and-copper facade (and the 13-metre tall jet black pike sculpture) spreads the Kansalaistori, the people’s plaza, a recreational area that gained praise and popularity immediately after opening to the public.
Helsinki Music Centre and Kiasma, along with the immediate surroundings, offer many interesting curiosities and architectural gems to discover for people of all ages. The best way to explore the architecture of these two establishments is to book an architectural tour and experience the buildings yourself.
Text by Johannes Koski/Kiasma