All images courtesy of Gilles Retsin
For the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, Gilles Retsin has proposed a museum that turns its Bilbao relative inside out: all the structure is visible, there is no cladding, and the spaces are all flexible. the entry uses advanced computation methodologies to develop the roof, yet it is erected from cheap, recycles, and large standardized building elements. instead of a glossy metal surface, it proposes a rough and tactile material character.
The mass consists of three large-scale strata – two floors and a profiled cover – which are supported by groups of slender columns. The footprint presents dimensions similar to the big city blocks and port infrastructure characteristic of the city’s eteläsatama area, although the facility itself is considerably lower than the surrounding context. it is deliberately ambiguous, in between a pitched roof, vaults or thick, volumetric layer reminiscent of boathouses or factories.
Instead of a surface, the roof is conceived as a volume and performs as a beam, similar to the engineering of airplanes. A custom-made algorithm distributes strips of timber, which cross in two directions to create a stiff shell. The density of these linear components is oriented and proportional to the localized stresses and proximity to support posts. The lightweight stressed skin system makes use of low-grade and recycled wood, which would otherwise not be suited for the construction industry and be used as fuel. to prevent a difficult or massive customization of joints, there is a high degree of repetition in the composition. Slender glulam posts are organized in strategic clusters to support the canopy.
The ground level of the museum is completely transparent and accessible via multiple entries. This is accompanied by the possibility to run different security regimes, shifting ticket control and bag check to the first level, which would effectively turn the previous platform into a generous, freely accessible civic space, a meeting ground for the metropolis. The floors are designed as brettstapel timber composite floors with efficient thermal properties and are largely fabricated off-site. The used ingredients result in a complex that would be carbon-negative, providing a minimal life cycle impact on the environment.