Guggenheim Helsinki





aSIDEbSIDE, KnitKnot Architecture, Competition for the Gugenheim museum in Helsinki(4)





aSIDEbSIDE, KnitKnot Architecture, Competition for the Gugenheim museum in Helsinki (3)










aSIDEbSIDE, KnitKnot Architecture, Competition for the Gugenheim museum in Helsinki(6)








Guggenheim Helsinki

KnitKnot Architecture: Diana Cristobal, Gonzalo J. Lopez, Alfonso Simelio and Tania Oramas



The design for the Guggenheim Helsinki investigates the dichotomy between completely generic exhibition spaces and those designed for specific artistic expressions. In the proposal, specific and generic exhibition spaces complement and reactivate each other. At the same time, the exhibition of art has become increasingly dependent on constructive and conditioning technology. Technology is turning into one of the main media for new artistic expressions. Realizing that both digital and traditional arts require similar levels of museum technology, Knitknot designed a building that acts as infrastructural, rather than as a background for the art pieces.  Re­formulating Khan’s idea of served and servant spaces, a series of surfaces that defined closed gallery spaces on one side, and imprecise and surprising spaces on the other were conceived. Those interstitial spaces, defined by the external faces of the galleries, feed on technical elements to provide an experience which, for being unscripted, can be as interesting as that of traditional art.



Who influences you graphically?

John Hejduk and Stirling’s drawings influenced us on the use of the axonometric as a compositional and geometrical study. Axonometry is in our work not so much a point of view, but a tool for work, a medium through which creative discovery takes place. We aim to celebrate not so much its rational and descriptive character, but its ambiguities. On a very different way, the format and the way our drawings are lay out on the page is influenced by the work of dogma.

What importance does colour hold for you and in specific your focus on blue?

The use of color as a conceptual tool is something that we are very interested on. Selective emphasis, exaggeration and simplification are some of the ways in which color helps us to underline the features that are important to the concept.

How does the use of black and white help in defining what you categorize as generic and defined spaces?

The lack of colour is also a tool that allows us to effectively emphasize a concept that is based on a duality (in this case the generic vs the specific). We aim to use colour only when it helps to investigate further an idea.

You use all means of geometric representations, do you trust that only by using all of them you can fully convey the story and narrative of your architecture?

No. It is true that in this particular project both 2d plans (plans, sections, elevations etc.), axonometric drawings and perspectives are used in order to facilitate the fully comprehension of the project; but we do not believe that an architectural object or narrative should always be explored by all those means. On the contrary, selecting only very particular geometric representations tends to simplify and emphasize the ideas that are communicated. In this case, however, we believed that the multiplicity of points of view brought something powerful to our work. It allowed us to explored ideas that were radically different (geometrical vs. programmatic for instance), in the same work.

What importance does the art you feature hold in the spaces you define?

We believe the way in which we draw clearly influence the types of spaces that we design. In some cases drawings unconsciously lead us to explore certain types of ideas (formal, i.e.), so we may say that the drawings precede the ideas. In other cases, they test certain intuitions or help us translate abstract ideas into figurative proposals. In any case, representation is not neutral for us; the way in which we draw is directly related to our spatial explorations and our interests.


KnitKnot Architecture is an international collective of Architects, Urban Planners, Artists and Thinkers that have created an international framework to work as a professional studio.

The strength of this studio resides in our network based way of working together, all knitting at the same time! The KnitKnotters are a group of professionals striving to attain our common and individual goals. We add up as a whole for our biggest endeavors or we divide in to teams for our smaller projects, but we encourage our members to think and work independently, and by relying on each other we build up our intelligence and sharpen our talents. We are stitches of the same fabric and as so we can stretch for, wrap up, fit in, cover up, fold in, extend for and much more!

We believe that architectural practice nowadays is based on a system of collaboration in which everyone efforts are blended anonymously into one result, discouraging individuality while achieving a corporate product. On the other hand, we propose a collaborative way of working that does not neutralize the individual. Instead, each individual work is still clearly legible within the collaborative whole. As a result, our work does not belong to a unitary ideological agenda, but is in every case the result of a group discussion. Different academic and professional backgrounds are therefore a requirement. We embrace diversity over homogeneity, difference over repetition, discussion over consensus.


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