Land­scape

OTH­ER­WORLDLY SKY­LIGHTS MARK A BOLD NEW PLAZA ATOP A SUNKEN MU­SEUM

Azure - - CONTENTS - WORDS _Danny Si­nop­oli PHO­TO­GRAPHS _Mika Huis­man

In Helsinki, a new un­der­ground mu­seum pops up in a re­vamped square

Helsinki’s new­est art mu­seum has made quite an im­pres­sion on the city, but not nec­es­sar­ily on its sky­line. All of the freshly built gallery space at Amos Rex, a rein­car­na­tion of the half-cen­tury-old Amos An­der­son Art Mu­seum, is lo­cated un­der­ground. When the trustees of the Amos An­der­son de­cided to move to Lasi­palatsi, a dis­tin­guished func­tion­al­ist pavil­ion built in the 1930s, they in­her­ited the ad­ja­cent listed plaza, a for­mer mil­i­tary pa­rade ground that had to re­main an open pub­lic space. That meant that the ar­chi­tects en­listed for the re­boot, Fin­nish prac­tice JKMM, had few op­tions but to sit­u­ate much of the 6,230-square-me­tre mu­seum below grade. A happy up­shot is the re­sult­ing “roof­s­cape,” a uniquely whim­si­cal plaza that has be­come a civic hit. The undis­puted stars of the new square are the alien-look­ing sky­lights that JKMM punched through the pa­rade ground to bring light into the gal­leries below. Clad with con­crete tiles, the sin­u­ous domed light wells cre­ate a rolling to­pog­ra­phy that main­tains the his­toric space’s in­tegrity (and that kids love to crawl over). “By ad­ding a bold new layer to Lasi­palatsi,” says Asmo Jaaksi, a found­ing part­ner at JKMM and the project’s lead ar­chi­tect, “we feel we are con­nect­ing past with present.” jkmm.fi, amosrex.fi

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