To strengthen the connection between city and waterfront, nARCHITECTS derived the Art Wharf’s building shape from Helsinki’s block typology in an effort to strengthen the visual connection between the city and waterfront. The building is terraced into four interconnected, but distinct volumes of varying sizes that accommodate diverse media and art forms and form the heart of the building, called the ‘Art Wharf.’ More traditional art galleries are located above the street-level art spaces and via a series of cascading stairs. The Art Wharf is surrounded by the ‘Public Wharf,’ a series of mixed-use spaces finished in wood that include retail, performance, and dining spaces.
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Inspired by Helsinki’s wintry and forested landscapes, nARCHITECTS wrapped the building volume in a timber latticework with high-performance glazing that evokes the imagery of ice. The generous amount of glazing also allows natural light to pierce through the building and creates a strong visual connection between the building and the urban fabric. That accessibility, placement of street-level art, and Public Wharf spaces will help carry out the Guggenheim Helsinki’s aim to “expand the art experience to new audiences with multidisciplinary approaches, performance-based initiatives, and educational programming.”