End of a Global Era? City Council Rejects Plans for Guggenheim Helsinki

The hotly contested plans to build a Guggenheim museum in the city of Helsinki were shot down this past Wednesday after a majority of Helsinki’s City Council members voted against moving forward with the project. Opposition to the project came from all sides of the Finnish government, from members who were outraged by a proposal that would have necessitated approximately $85 million in funds from the city, with private donors contributing the rest to the $138 million museum. The plans for a satellite Guggenheim on Helsinki’s waterfront had gained wide public interest and notoriety since its inception in 2011, when an open international design competition attracted 1,700 entrants. The bid was eventually awarded to Paris-based architecture firm Moreau Kusunoki in 2015, which proposed a complex of timber and glass pavilions with flexible gallery spaces. While members of the government’s far-right, left and Social Democrat parties were delighted and relieved with the result of Wednesday’s decision, many of the project’s supporters were left deeply disappointed. “I suppose that it was a reaction to a sense of engulfing internationalism or a reaction against globalism,” said Richard Armstrong, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim ...
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