Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Art Museum: Kiasma - Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

GPS: N 60° 10.291; E 024° 56.209

Short Description: 

The Kiasma contemporary art museum is located at Mannerheiminaukio 2 in the center of Helsinki, Finland. The controversial design is by award winning architect Steven Holl.

Long Description:

The Kiasma is a 130,000 square foot glass and metal structure that includes an art museum with galleries, a theater, cafe, shop, and artist workshops. It was designed by the award winning American architect Steven Holl, a professor of architecture at Columbia University in New York City.

In 1992 a competition was held for the construction of a contemporary art museum in Helsinki. The design by Steven Holl, the only US entrant, was selected from among 516 entries. The long, curved, wedge shaped building was constructed between 1993 and 1998. It exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery.

Kiasma is Finnish for chiasma (anatomy = crossing point of the optic nerve or the crossing point in chromosome.) which reflects the basic conceptual idea of Stevn Holl. Acccording to his web site, Steven Holl describes his concept for the building.

Philatelic Photograph of Architectural Element
"The concept of Kiasma involves the building's mass intertwining with the geometry of the city and landscape which are reflected in the shape of the building. An implicit cultural line curves to link the building to Finlandia Hall while it also engages a "natural line" connecting to the back landscape and Töölö Bay."

Steven Holl is the winner of two prestigious architectural awards. In 1998, he was awarded the Alvar Aalto Medal and, in 2012, AIA Gold Medal. He has received many other honors and awards for his work, including: New York American Institute of Architects Medal of Honor, the French Grande Médaille d’Or, the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture. He has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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