The Latest addition to Helsinki’s cultural quarter is opened! The new Amos Rex museums exhibition programme will extend from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures.
Helsinki has gained a new cultural institution and a striking new public space with the completion of Amos Rex. The art museum opened after a five- year, €50 million project designed by architecture firm JKMM, which has seen the refurbishment of the landmark 1930’s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki. At the heart of the museum, 13,000 cubic metres of rock has been excavated to create a new 2,200 sqm world-class flexible gallery space topped with a series of domes and skylights that form the new undulating landscape of the Lasipalatsi Square.
The goal is for the past, present and future to produce unique experiences and surprising encounters beneath and above ground, and on the screen.
A renovated museum in Helsinki combines a sculptural public plaza, a Functionalist 1930s gem, and a massive domed subterranean space to create one of the coolest new buildings of the year.
1. World-class cultural destination
"The opening of [...] Amos Rex adds convincing weight to the argument that Helsinki is a world-class cultural destination. [...] Entering off the city’s main Mannerheimintie avenue, visitors are greeted with a big picture window that frames one of the new mounds in the square beyond before descending down a broad staircase to a bright white foyer. The ceiling is covered with spirals of white illuminated fabric that gently throb, giving the impression of being beneath some ethereal cloud canopy (a welcome sight in Helsinki’s dark winter months), while two great conical voids plunge down from the piazza, framing views of surrounding buildings through their circular windows.
Oliver Wainwright in The Guardian
2. Unrivalled facilities
“The opening of Amos Rex is one of the biggest events to occur in the cultural life of Helsinki for a generation and will offer unrivalled facilities for the display of art, exhibitions, film and performance. Art used to be something you hung on the wall and went respectfully to contemplate. Today art is increasingly interactive and conversational. It is something people make and experience together. Contemporary art finds all the time new forms and new media and this is exemplified in the work of our first artistic contributor, teamLab. teamLab’s immersive and participatory digital artwork is a fantastic way to demonstrate the expressive possibilities opened up to us by our new galleries.”
Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex
3. A total hit in Helsinki
"Positioned somewhere between alien topography and an ancient lifeform, the textured concrete playscape is a total hit in Helsinki. Sunbathers, selfie-snapping teens, Instagram influencers, romping children, and even daredevil parents can be seen ascending the five volcano-like protrusions to peer down into the subterranean art world below. Within the museum, sliding butts, squished noses and photography wars are now as common a view as the art, which unfurls in a columnless 24,000-square-foot gallery space."
Alice Bucknell in Architects Newspaper
4. Remarkable addition to Helsinki's urban culture
"The City of Helsinki is delighted to partner with Amos Rex to create this world-class cultural facility located right in the heart of Helsinki city centre. The refurbishment of the 1930’s landmark together with the new museum extension are remarkable additions to our urban culture. Helsinki’s goal is to champion world-class culture, arts and education opportunities for all of our citizens and people visiting our city.”
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki
5. Reflective of Finland's wry sense of humor
"Taken as a whole, such an amalgam of buildings shouldn’t work: a 21st century bulbous space for new media tied to a rectilinear, shopping center aside a 19th century square. But the structures and spaces from different ages sit comfortably side by side, highlighting the confident intelligence with which JKMM have undertaken the project. In fact, the wild juxtaposition seems reflective of Finland’s characteristically wry sense of humor: the cavernous domes are a little silly, but they’re hidden behind a presentable, functionalist facade."
George Kafka in Metropolis Magazine
6. Connecting past with present
“Integrating one of Finland’s architecturally pioneering 1930s buildings - Lasipalatsi - as part of the Amos Rex project has been a moving experience. By adding a bold new layer to Lasipalatsi, we feel we are connecting past with present. We would like this to come across as a seamless extension as well as an exciting museum space very much of its time. We hope the newly landscaped Lasipalatsi Square with its gently curving domes will be received as a welcome addition to Helsinki’s urban culture; a place everyone and anyone in the city can feel is their own.”
Asmo Jaaksi, Founding Partner of JKMM
7. Of its place and for its city
"Perhaps it’s thanks to the museum’s historic presence in the city, its large and state-of-the-art educational facilities and galleries or the use of a much-loved Helsinki landmark such as Lasipalatsi as its main entrance and calling card, but Amos Rex feels very much of its place and for its city. For its part the city seems to have already reciprocated and taken to it in no uncertain terms."
Giovanna Dunvall in Wallpaper