Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2014 - Page 9

Working on a Dream Richard Armstrong wants to build a new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki – and he will only take ‘Go!’ for an answer Helsinki, the Daughter of Baltic, has had her share of suitors in the past. This time around, there is a very persistent admirer at her doorstep. Guggenheim, the most brandilicious museum franchise on the planet, wants to build its next high-profile, pull-all-the-stops museum right here – despite being turned down once already. A couple of years ago, bringing Guggenheim to Helsinki had the full support of the City’s top politicians, but the venture faced a rather sceptical public. The introduction of Guggenheim to Helsinki’s shorelines was viewed as a pet project of the Finnish elite and even the Minister of Culture voiced concerns about the American invasion. This coincided with a zeitgeist that found Finns turning inwards, frowning upon foreign influence, in the wake of the Parliamentary elections. But that was then and this is now. Richard Armstrong, the Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, is ready for the second round, claiming that he’s not frustrated about how things turned out the first time around: “I fully understand that people have their reservations, I’m a sceptical person myself. When I make decisions, I want to see all the facts, too.” Drive & Dialogue Armstrong goes as far as to say that the wave of public opinion and the rise of activism that sank the first attempt is, in fact, one of the things Guggenheim finds so appealing about Finland. This is a nation where dialogue is encouraged and expected and people do have their say. Still, Armstrong admits to being “concerned” that Guggenheim may not get a fair shake: “We must make sure that there is transparency and dialogue. Whatever the decision may be, we must move together, in a coordinated way.” The second offer – which was made in September – is “even more alluring” than the first one, Armstrong promises. Instead of the Ka