Museum under the City

Amos Rex Museum, Hensinki

Architect: Asmo Jaaksi – JKMM Architects
Text: Eszter Götz
Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo, Hannu Rytky, Mika Huisman

Located in the heart of the city, Amos Rex is sited across from the 1920s classicist Parliament building and diagonally opposite the Steven Holl designed Kiasma Museum. The entrance to Amos Rex is through Lasipalatsi (“glass palace”), a distinguished 1930s Functionalist pavilion comprising restaurants, shops, the Bio Rex cinema and an open square behind it. All the new build gallery spaces of Amos Rex, however, are underground. This radical approach to designing a 6,230 square metre building below Lasipalatsi Square was driven by the historically sensitive context of the neighbouring 19th century neo-classical barracks. The solution came in the form of highly sculptural roof lights that also address the challenge of bringing daylight into the subterranean exhibition spaces. The roof lights create a new topography, their gently rolling forms playing on the idea of an urban park in keeping with the integrity of the square.

Leading architect: Asmo Jaaksi – JKMM
Architects: Freja Ståhlberg-Aalto, Katja Savolainen, Teemu Kurkela, Samuli Miettinen, Juha Mäki-Jyllilä, Edit Bajsz, Christopher Delany, Markus Manninen, Marko Pulli, Katariina Takala
Interior design: Jarno Vesa, Päivi Meuronen, Noora Liesimaa
Structure: Sipti Oy
HVAC, electrical engineering: Ramboll Talotekniikka
Acoustics: Helimäki Akustikot
Lightning system: Petri Vainio, Doctor Design