Kiasma renovation enhances the premises of presenting and experiencing art
The renovation project of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, will refurbish the roofs and facades of the building and carry out several smaller reforms within the building, the aim of which is to improve both the presentation and experiencing of art. The museum will be closed to the public for the duration of the work.
During repairs on the outside of the building, the zinc sheet curved roof, and aluminium and brass facade sheets will first be dismantled, and the structures underneath them refurbished. The zinc sheet roof will be redone, and the old zinc will be recycled. After cleansing, the aluminium and brass sheets will be re-installed. The windows will also be renewed.
Repairs inside the museum
Inside the museum, the restaurant kitchen and Kiasma Theatre equipment will be renewed. The suspended ceilings in the exhibition spaces will be renovated to enhance sound absorption. In addition, the lighting system of the spaces will be replaced with energy-saving LED lighting. Wall plastering in the museum’s galleries will be partly redone, as the continuously changing exhibition hangings have caused the walls to become scuffed. The curved pattern on the walls is an important component of the building interior’s appearance, and it will also be realised on the renewed surfaces.
Construction of scaffoldings began outside the building in December 2020. The work will be completed in spring 2022, when the ARS22 exhibition on international contemporary art will open in Kiasma.
The cost estimate for the project is EUR 23 million euros. Senate Properties, as the property owner, is responsible for the costs of the renovation. The project will not affect Kiasma's rent or ticket prices.
Kiasma is a voluntarily protected site of Senate Properties
Kiasma, which was opened to the public in 1998 and designed by Steven Holl from the United States, has, at the time, represented a free-form architecture which is demanding from an engineering point of view.
In Finland, Kiasma’s architecture is unique. Therefore, the building is defined in Senate Properties as a so-called voluntarily protected site, although it is not officially protected. The principles of repairs and maintenance are defined in close cooperation with the Finnish Heritage Agency, with the aim of preserving the characteristics of the original architecture.
Senate Properties has prepared a long-term renovation plan for the site, according to which renovation and maintenance work has been carried out in the building over the years. The repairs have been made in stages, which has made it possible, for example, to prepare more detailed plans and cost estimates after the information accumulated on previous renovation stages.
Previously, Kiasma was repaired in 2019, when the old glass U-shaped profile glass on the facade was replaced with a more durable one. After the renovation now under way, no major repairs are expected in several years.
User: Finnish National Gallery
Constructor: Senate Properties
Construction Project Manager: Selja Flink, Senate Properties
Main contractor: Rakennus Oy Antti J. Ahola
Construction Consultant: HTJ Ltd, Tuukka Salo, Kari Huttunen
Principal Designer and Architect: Architectural Agency Freese & Schulman, Simo Freese
Structural Engineer: Engineering Office Lauri Mehto Oy, Simo-Pekka Valtonen
HVAC Designer: Granlund Oy, Kalervo Sipinen
Electrical Engineer: Engineering Office Stacon Oy, Kalevi Hämäläinen
Architectural design of gallery reforms: Architectural Office B&M Architects Ltd, Timo Kiukkola
Construction Project Manager Selja Flink, Senate Properties tel. +358 40 669 5337, email@example.com
Questions and answers
Inside the museum, the restaurant kitchen and Kiasma Theatre equipment will be renewed. The suspended ceilings in the exhibition spaces will be renovated to enhance sound absorption. In addition, the lighting system of the spaces will be replaced with energy-saving LED lighting. Wall plastering in the museum’s galleries will be partly redone, as the continuously changing exhibition hangings have caused the walls to become scuffed. The curved pattern on the walls is an important component of the interior’s appearance, and it will also be realised on the renewed surfaces.
The curved shapes and structures of Kiasma’s exterior, have been challenging to implement, in their time. In Finland, tin roofs are normally made of thin steel sheets. The nearly pure zinc sheet is much thicker and therefore more challenging to handle. During the renovation, the internal structures of the Kiasma roof and walls are changed to ensure waterproofness. On the outside, however, the building will remain exactly the same as before. With the exception that, after the repairs, the ceiling and walls of Kiasma will look brighter until the zinc is repatinated.
The architectural competition for the museum building was organised in 1993. Among more than five hundred competition proposals, “Chiasma” by Steven Holl from the United States was selected as the winner. Kiasma was one of the pioneers to represent free-form architecture in Finland. In fact, the design and the location of the museum were, at that time, the cause of intense polemics. However, with the exception of minor changes, the design was implemented in accordance with Holl’s competition proposal. Kiasma’s construction work began in 1996. Kiasma opened its doors to the public in May 1998.
Architect Steven Holl says he wanted to create galleries that offer a minimal but dramatic background for presenting art with varying essence and expression. Holl was fascinated by the seasonally changing nature of the Finnish natural light. Therefore, he designed the interior surfaces of the building with special attention to natural light. Also Kiasma’s lighting adapts to natural light.
The masses of the Kiasma building, for their part, discuss with both the classic landmark of Helsinki’s architecture, The Finlandia Hall, and with the more organic forms of the Töölönlahti bay. The “Pasaasi” corridor, running through Kiasma with its waterfalls and pools, was originally part of a larger park design in Töölönlahti, where a channel had been placed in the area between the current Musiikkitalo and the Helsinki Central Library, Oodi. The plan for a canal has since been replaced.
Kiasma was built by the city of Helsinki and after completion, the building was transferred to state ownership on the basis of the land exchange agreement. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma is a part of the Finnish National Gallery, together with Ateneum and Sinebrychoff Art Museum.