Art in Helsinki - Amos Rex
Amos Rex is a major new art museum in Helsinki, which blends a fantastic art collection with cutting edge architectural design. Located in Lasipalatsi Square (the ‘glass palace square’ in Finnish) in central Helsinki, the museum opened last year. It is the new location for the collection of the Amos Anderson Art Museum, a highly regarded museum that was established in the 1960s at the bequest of Amos Anderson, a Finnish entrepreneur, art collector and philanthropist.
Interestingly for an art gallery, all of the new gallery spaces created by Amos Rex are below ground, with large, asymmetrical dome structures rising into the square above to provide light to the rooms below. This radical approach was driven by the historically sensitive context of the neighbouring 19th century neo-classical barracks. The listing of the barracks was contingent on the retention of the former military parade ground - now Lasipalatsi Square - as an unbuilt open public space. Importantly, Lasipalatsi Square remains as an important civic space within Helsinki while also allowing the public to enjoy Amos Rex’s only visible new built elevation, its roofscape. 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.
Inside the museum, sloping stairs lead up from the exhibition hall to Lasipalatsi’s foyer where visitors enter the building through the 1930s doors of the Bio Rex cinema. This forms a harmonious connection between new and existing buildings. The 550-seat cinema auditorium has been restored as part of this project together with rest of the listed Lasipalatsi Pavilion. This is open to the general public as well as to museum visitors and show both art house and mainstream films. The cinema is operated by an arts organisation called Korjaamo who also run film festivals and organise other events in collaboration with Amos Rex.
Nordique loves the fantastic blending of architectural styles, and the vision of this project - to create a brand new, modern exhibition space while retaining and enhancing a large public space in the heart of the city. What a fantastic achievement - we can’t wait to visit!