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Guggenheim proposes $178-million Helsinki museum

The Guggenheim wants to build a $178-million museum on the Helsinki waterfront as part of its growing stable of contemporary art spaces around the world.

The Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, which oversees the original Frank Lloyd Wright-designed museum in New York as well as sites in Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, has proposed that it and the Finnish capital jointly develop a Helsinki museum.

The Guggenheim chose Helsinki due to strong local interest and tradition in art and design, as well as the city’s plans to develop its harbour properties, it said in a proposal announced on Tuesday.

Posh population
“We were quite interested and excited by what we saw here — a population that is highly educated, which is very important for the success of the museum and for potential audience development,” Ari Wiseman, the Guggenheim’s deputy director, told Reuters.

Wiseman, along with city officials, presented the proposal at the landmark Finlandia Hall designed by Alvar Aalto, after a year-long feasibility study.

The Guggenheim also noted the city lacked a significant modern art collection, a gap it said the museum could fill and help draw tourists.

It proposed a museum be built on a city-owned site in Helsinki’s south harbour, and recommended the city move forward with an architectural competition.

The museum could open in 2018 after around three years of development, it said, adding that its $178-million estimate includes the construction and design of the building. The museum would also need public, private and corporate funding to cover operating costs.

The city is due to decide in the next few weeks whether to go ahead with the project. — Reuters

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