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The building of the Museum of Architecture represents Neo-Renaissance architecture. The building is cream-coloured, rectangular and has three storeys. The picture shows the top two floors, each with five large windows lined with decorations. The lower floor is decorated with wreath-like ornaments, while the upper floor has small fences. The facade of the building has Corinthian columns.
Museum of Finnish Architecture (Magnus Schjerfbeck, 1899). photo: Mahlum / Public Domain

New Architecture and Design Museum project takes a leap forward

Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government has granted 60 million euros towards the New Architecture and Design Museum as part of the revitalisation programme.

After a long wait, the New Architecture and Design Museum has made the headlines again. This time the museum is one step closer to the realisation: 60 million euros has been allocated to the Architecture and Design Museum as part of the Finnish government’s 1.3 billion euro supplementary budget to help the country recover from the economical impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. A similar amount is expected from the City of Helsinki.

The latest report on the museum project was completed in the spring of 2019, and since then decisions have been awaited for taking the project forward. The objective of the museum is to create the most significant and extensive core exhibition of architecture and design in the Nordic countries. The City of Helsinki is ready to give the museum a prestigious site in the South Harbour (Eteläsatama) – the site also known as the Guggenheim plot – as the city has a strong desire to develop the harbour area. 

At present, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum do not have suitable premises for future museum experiences. The museum buildings, which reside on adjacent plots in Kaartinkaupunki area, were not initially designed as museums: The Design Museum operates in a school building designed by Gustaf Nyström, completed in 1894 in Korkeavuorenkatu street, whereas the Museum of Finnish Architecture occupies a building formerly known as House of Learned Societies on Kasarmikatu street, designed by Magnus Schjerfbeck and completed in 1899. 

Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor Nasima Razmyar (SPD) said in an interview published in Helsingin Sanomat on 24th April that the new museum would generate faith in the future and the investment would be reflected in many fields hit by the effects of coronavirus.

“The project must be seen more broadly than just as a matter of Helsinki – the museum would be in the interest of the entire nation. The New Architecture and Design Museum has the potential to become a similar success and symbol as Helsinki Central Library Oodi. And above all, a time of crisis requires intellectual capital, which is exactly what culture can bring. Now it is possible to start reviving through culture,” Razmyar told Helsingin Sanomat

The state funding will enable the anticipated launch towards the realisation of the new museum. The museum is the most important project that unites the fields of architecture and design in Finland. Co-operation has already been initiated within the project’s framework, for instance, in building up a concept for a learning centre for architecture and design.