HAM Helsingin taidemuseo

Two sites selected for further investigation for HAM’s new premises

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The working group searching for a new location for HAM Helsinki Art Museum will continue operating until the end of 2024. Out of about ten sites under consideration, two potential locations have been selected. The Olympia Terminal and Satamatalo buildings as well as the Töölö Sugar Refinery buildings will be considered for further investigation.  

HAM Helsinki Art Museum’s current lease agreement at Tennis Palace will continue until further notice in good cooperation with the current lessor. Photo: HAM / Maija Toivanen.
HAM Helsinki Art Museum’s current lease agreement at Tennis Palace will continue until further notice in good cooperation with the current lessor. Photo: HAM / Maija Toivanen.

HAM’s aim is to find a building that enables a modern museum experience, better art collection services for the residents, attractive Finnish and international exhibitions, and a more frequently changing exhibition schedule. The museum’s current premises at Tennis Palace have challenges related to functionality and building technology.  

In June 2023, the City of Helsinki established a working group to search for new premises for HAM. The working group’s original deadline has been extended from May 2024 to the end of 2024. The group’s task is to investigate various locations and establish the City of Helsinki’s vision for the museum’s future location. Additionally, the group will examine the construction project’s implementation model, investment level, and implementation method. The City of Helsinki’s cultural director Mari Männistö chairs the working group, and its other members represent the Helsinki City Executive Office, Urban Environment Division, and HAM. 

“We have surveyed about ten locations, from existing buildings to new building projects. Options have been observed from various perspectives with the help of experts and through site visits, dialogue with property owners, and extensive comparison criteria. It is essential for the new location to enable a modern museum experience and better services for visitors, including a café and other supplementary services. In addition to versatile premises, we seek quality,” said Arja Miller, working group member and director of HAM Helsinki Art Museum.  

The working group has selected two locations for further investigation. One option – already being considered when the working group was established – is Olympiaranta, meaning the Olympia Terminal and Satamatalo buildings owned by the Port of Helsinki. The other option is the Töölö Sugar Refinery buildings, owned by Nordea’s Finnish Pension Foundation, at Töölönlahti Bay. Reforma Property Development Oy represents Nordea’s Finnish Pension Foundation in the project. 

“One important criterion was to investigate how HAM’s new location could advance the City of Helsinki’s objectives, such as increasing the city’s attractiveness in Finland and internationally. Additionally, we appreciate the opportunity to use valuable old buildings while also having the option to build extensions or new buildings. Many criteria were best met by these two sites,” said Mari Männistö, the working group chair and City of Helsinki’s cultural director. 

There are several open questions concerning the sites chosen for further investigation. The working group will delve into these questions during the upcoming autumn through architectural reference plans, cost calculations, and dialogue with property owners or their representatives. Based on further investigation, a proposal will be made concerning whether the project includes a design competition. The Helsinki City Council will make the final decision on the project’s progress, and project funding will be decided as part of the city’s budget.  

HAM Helsinki Art Museum’s current lease agreement at Tennis Palace will continue until further notice in good cooperation with the current lessor. The planned schedule for moving to the new premises is the early 2030s.  

Working group members: 

  • Mari Männistö, chair; Cultural Director, Culture and Leisure Division  
  • Arja Miller, Museum Director, HAM Helsinki Art Museum  
  • Ilkka Aaltonen, Team Manager, Urban Environment Division  
  • Hannu Asikainen, Project Director, Helsinki City Executive Office  
  • Sari Hilden, Head of Facilities, Urban Environment Division  
  • Janne Prokkola, Head of Unit, Urban Environment Division  
  • Marja-Leena Rinkineva, Director of Economic Development, Helsinki City Executive Office  
  • Peter Butter, Project Director, Urban Environment Division  
  • Antti Kauppinen, staff representative, HAM Helsinki Art Museum 
  • Elina Leskelä, secretary, HAM Helsinki Art Museum 

Additional information:  

Mari Männistö, Chair for the HAM premises working group; cultural director, Culture and Leisure Division
Tel. +358 9 310 26157 
e-mail mari.mannisto@hel.fi 

Arja Miller, Museum Director, HAM Helsinki Art Museum
Tel. +358 50 336 1980   
e-mail arja.miller@hamhelsinki.fi  

Keywords

HAM Helsinki Art Museum is one of the most significant art museums in Finland and the Nordic region. HAM actively curates a broad international exhibition program and houses a rich collection of over 10,000 artworks, which includes the city of Helsinki’s public art collection. HAM is responsible for art conservation, curation, public art commissions, and acquisitions within Helsinki’s art collection, encompassing both domestic and international works. Furthermore, HAM oversees organizing the ambitious contemporary art event Helsinki Biennial. Since 2023, HAM has operated as a foundation under the Helsinki City Group’s umbrella.

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