Helsinki National Museum Annex

Competition, Special Jury Prize.
Helsinki (Finland).

este es el baKpak del edificio

Our proposal for the extension of the national museum is based on the initial idea of converting the new building into a new portion of the garden. An object that behaves as an extension of the public space and under which are the accesses to the new annex and the restaurant.

The complex of the national museum forms a set of gardens and buildings in which clearly stands out the building of the beginning of the century that is the current headquarters of the national museum. The new extension of the museum is proposed in the north garden of the complex.

Our proposal is positioned in a middle term between the castle and the administrative building to the north of the limit of the plot. Itsspecific position and high compactness allows the project to be developed in the minimum subterranean area and with the least possible impact on the set of existing trees.

The project is mainly divided into two parts. From one hand, the underground part that serves the main program of the expansion; the new exhibition halls, workshops, technical services, security and maintenance. On the other hand, the emerging part of the building that houses the accesses to the restaurant and to the extension of the national museum.

The underground part, as we have said, is as compact as possible and is divided into two levels. An intermediate level between the level of the garden and the level of the exhibition rooms where we find workshops and auxiliary services, and a main level seven meters below the level of the garden that has a large hall that gives access to the three large exhibition rooms. These rooms are interconnected in such a way that they can function separately or join together in a single large space together with the hall. On this level there are also all the ancillary services of bathrooms and museum shop. There is a perimeter service corridor around all exhibition halls in direct connection with the loading elevator and with the maintenance and storage areas.

While the part of the underground program tries to be compact and multifunctional, the emerging part of the building tries to generate the greatest possible integration of the building into the castle garden.

We understand that in the future the garden should be another space where to exhibit and do activities related to the museum. That is why our building is designed as an artefact in continuity with the garden and which, thanks to its shape, provides it with new cultural and exhibition possibilities. The building is presented as a green roof that folds connecting with the garden and generating accesses to the underground annex and the restaurant and propitiating, thanks to its shape, the appearance of bleachers and access areas to the roof itself. This topographical surface is part of the garden and is a point from which to contemplate the castle and the rest of the museum complex. Its topography is also modelled propitiating the appearance of a large outdoor amphitheatre with the castle as a backdrop and which will be an ideal place for exhibition events, concerts and performances.

The new extension can be accessed from outside or from the current museum. Access from the museum is via the north courtyard, which will be refurbished and covered with a steel and glass structure. From this courtyard we access the stairs or lifts that connect with the intermediate level of the annex that is accessed through a large corridor. Once we have travelled through it, we can go down one more level and access the exhibition halls or go up one level and access the restaurant or the garden. In this way the excavation under the castle is minimal and the impact on the functioning of the current museum is close to zero.

Since the annex and the restaurant can operate independently of the current museum, we created a direct access to the annex from Mannerheimintie Avenue through an opening in the existing wall. This access will be open when the restaurant or annexe schedule requires it.


We group the three event rooms and the hall as four empty boxes in the most compact rectangle possible. This volume of 44×34 m is separated from the neighbouring buildings 20 m, so there are no problems in the excavations with the existing foundations. The position and size of the hall avoids useless corridors and generates a space which can be used as the 4th exhibition hall. Finally, this compactness allows you to cut as few trees as possible.


We propose that there is a strong relationship between what happens underground with what emerges from it. Therefore we make a cut in the field just in the perimeter of the 4 rooms and we raised generating two things, on the one hand a single deck of low height to never compete with the existing building, and on the other hand to introduce natural light into the rooms of exposition. In this way the architecture and skylights are included within an integral solution.


This unique roof folds into contact with the ground to generate a new landscape. These folds give continuity to the garden and generate three grandstands oriented to different places: one to the current museum, another to the hall of Alvar Aalto and the last to the garden. This new topography creates a podium and a stage where to place sculpture and make concerts and cultural events.


The new entrance hall is located at the point closest to the existing building and Mannerheim Street. From the inside of the new hall there will therefore be direct views of the existing building. We created a new door to the garden and the annex as close as possible to the current access to the museum to avoid confusion and both are visible at the same time. On the other hand, the restaurant is oriented to the southwest and open to the garden in two of its faces, thus taking advantage of the entire garden as outdoor terraces. There is an internal connection between the hall and the restaurant.


We propose that the roof be part of the garden as a new landscape and therefore we generate a material continuity between both. The cover touches the garden on one side in a green area and on the other hand in a stony area, so we propose a topography with a gradient between the two materials where the natural and the artificial come together: architecture VS nature.


We have carefully analysed the relationship between the existing building and the new annex and therefore propose the most convenient and rational connection. This Eva connection takes place in an intermediate access point as a balcony that looks at the empty space of the hall and allows you to quickly go up to the restaurant / garden or go down directly to the exhibition hall. This allows that from the Patio of the existing building we only have to go down one floor, which already exists and extend to the annex, saving unnecessary stairs and routes


Thanks to the strategy of cutting just inside the perimeter of the rooms we obtain skylights 3 m wide. This vacuum generates an important natural light input and also allows to ventilate the event rooms naturally. In addition, thanks to these solutions and the layout of the uses, the workshops and service areas also have natural light and ventilation. These skylights have a very simple closing system in the false ceilings of the rooms.


Thanks to the layout of the event rooms and the hall, a multitude of use variables can be generated, joining the rooms in pairs or in three or three together. This arrangement also allows a very convenient visit, creating an optimal loop of travel. The heights of these boxes are several and this allows each of them to take on different events. The hall has a height of 9.5 m, the room of 600 m has a height of 7 m and the other two rooms of 4.5 m. Thanks to the size and layout of the hall, it is possible to introduce without problems the required 15×3 m piece through the vacuum that connects the garden with the event halls through the hall.

Project: Helsinki National Museum Annex.


Stage: Competition, special jury prize.

Locatio: Helsinki (Finland).

Area: – m2

Budget: – €

Architects: Architects: Borja Navarro Ibáñez de Aldecoa, José De la Peña Gómez Millán, José María González Chamorro, José A Pavón González, Myriam Rego Gómez.
Bakpak Architects Bakpak Architects + DAGOpen