Guggenheim Helsinki Unveils Design

The Guggenheim has become something of a brand over the years, with satellite locations in Venice and Bilbao, Spain, and one planned in Abu Dhabi. Now this museum_s proposed branch in Helsinki, Finland, has taken a step closer to reality, with the selection of a design that features charred timber and glass punctuated by a lighthouse-like tower overlooking South Harbor.

It is still uncertain whether the design, by the relatively young husband-and-wife firmĀ Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, founded four years ago in Paris, will be accepted by its surrounding city, which has been bitterly divided over the project, largely because of concerns over its price of about $147 million.

The winning design, titled "Lighthouse" and announced at the Palace Hotel in Helsinki on Tuesday, was chosen from 1,715 anonymous submissions in a yearlong competition that the jury_s chair said had actually been improved by the controversy.

"Architecture should always be incubated within debate," said the chair, Mark Wigley, a professor and dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. "Public money especially should never be taken for granted."

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