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Helsinki city council reserves plot for Guggenheim

Now that Helsinki has decided to reserve a plot in the South Harbour, the Guggenheim Foundation can organize and fund an international architecture competition for a potential Helsinki museum location.

Guggenheimin museon mahdollinen tontti Helsingin Eteläsatamassa.
The reserved Guggenheim plot is adjacent to the Tallink-Silja terminal in the South Harbour of Helsinki. Image: Yle

The decision to reserve the plot passed the Helsinki city council by a vote of 10 to 5. Members of the Social Democratic Party called for further deliberation from the city council on the issue, but the motion did not receive enough support.

The site on the South Harbour, now in use as a parking lot, will be reserved for two years as the architecture competition takes place.

The decision means that the American Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is now free to arrange an international architecture competition for a potential Helsinki museum. The Foundation has committed to funding the competition itself.

No final decision yet

The decision as to whether the museum will actually be built will be deferred until after the competition has been carried out. The museum has been strongly opposed by many -- particularly after hearing of the Foundation’s original proposal by which the 130 million construction costs would be absorbed by the City of Helsinki and the Finnish State.

National Coalition Party members in support of the museum stress that reserving a site does not necessary mean a positive decision to go through with the Helsinki location. Social Democrats on the council argue that it is nevertheless an obvious statement on behalf of the museum.

Last year the city council rejected the first bid to build the museum.

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