"Atlas," the design proposal by Helsinki-based JKMM Architects, was selected for 1st place out of 185 entries. The project was in response to a two-stage anonymous design competition for the extension of the National Museum of Finland, which was organized by The Finnish Heritage Agency, the National Museum of Finland, and Senate Properties.
Building on the existing museum which opened in 1916 and was designed by the Finnish architecture firm Gesellius, Lindgren, and Saarinen, the 2019 competition brief called for additional exhibition space; workshops; a new restaurant in the museum's underused enclosed garden; and improved access including a new entrance for the Museum.
"Our entry, Atlas, reinforces our interest in how architecture can enable a sense of solidarity and belonging to a place," said JKMM founding partner Samuli Miettinen about the design approach. "The National Museum is a place that belongs to everyone and anyone in Finland and we thought its extension’s architectural form should be universally understood yet encourage multiple interpretations," he continued.
JKMM sought to ensure that the new addition was independent of the original Museum building acting as a kind of freestanding pavilion-like sculpture. The circular disc-shaped white roof sits at 2000 tons, solid concrete, and manifests an area of 1320 meters-squared. The radial perimeter glazing gives the space an ethereal sense of softness, floating above the landscape.
Additionally, subterranean implementations were utilized to realize the proposed design. "An essential consideration for us on ‘Atlas,' Miettinen said, "was to keep the impact of new building at ground level to a minimum and to place its bulk underground thereby enhancing the role the enclosed garden will play in the future of the National Museum of Finland.”
Atlas comes in at nearly 5000 square meters which takes into account a 1200 square meter exhibition space.
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