Tampere Art Museum
- Categories Arts & Culture, Urban & Landscape
- Project Team Deborah Saunt, David Hills, Tom Greenall, Jonathan French, Natalie Barton, Iain Jamieson, Sofia Villanueva
The role of art in contemporary culture has never been more critical, raising questions about tolerance, understanding and creativity. The buildings and landscapes in which art is experienced have the potential to form a city’s Cultural Infrastructure—a soft network that builds the identity of a place and its inhabitants, nurtures imagination, promotes diversity, encourages enquiry, and passes on knowledge to the next generation.
The spaces and networks that enable art to be produced, experienced and disseminated are as essential to the life of a city as the hard infrastructures on which public money is more often focused. Architecture clearly has a critical role to play in unlocking a city’s potential to bring people together and to ensure its ongoing status as an attractive destination for residents and visitors alike. This proposal, therefore, considers the Art Museum as part of a wider network of cultural institutions throughout the city of Tampere and the region, rather than as a single cultural silo.
Through the development of an urban strategy the Art Museum, nearby High School, Tampere Music Conservatory, Pyynikintori Square, Kelloplaani Park, Tampere Library, Pyynikin Swimming Pool and Amuri Museum of Workers’ Housing are drawn together as part of a cultural district, linked by a coherent landscape proposal. The notion of Cultural Infrastructure is considered at the scale of the building as well as the scale of the city. As such, the extension to the museum is imagined as a robust yet flexible framework that, through a sense of open-endedness, encourages adaptation, reinterpretation and expansion to meet the changing demands of the museum long into the future—a similar ideology employed in the former Crown Granary that allowed its conversion into the Tampere Art Museum so that it is still used today over 170 years later.
‘More than enough’ appears to have been provided in the new building, with generous courtyards, terraces and double height spaces placed throughout the design. This incomplete nature is intentional; the proposal is conceived of as a piece of infrastructure that (both literally and metaphorically) supports cultural activity and provides a structure within which curated change is allowed to take place. Who knows what the future will hold? The extension to the museum appears as a beautiful building of finely crafted red brickwork, which is cast as a scale representation of the Granary building to extend the narrative of the site.
The proportions of the Granary building have been used to establish both scale and rhythm to the elegant new red brick facades, which are highly articulated and provide the enclosure to an innovative timber structure. The structure of the new museum building thereby speaks to the historic structure of the former Crown Granary, as well as to the wider environmental sensibilities of the Finnish people, drawing association with the forests and natural habitat which are central to Finnish culture.
The proposed redevelopment of Pyynikintori Square discreetly restricts movement of buses to the western edge so that pedestrian movement is prioritised and space is made available for more active and engaging uses such as a programmed market. Crossings have been improved, widened and aligned with the new entrance to the museum. The children’s playground has been relocated and recon gured so that it no longer forms a barrier between the High School, the Music Conservatory and Square. It is instead located within a landscape of grass mounds and amongst a grove of trees, making a positive contribution to the life of the square.
The proposed design for Pyynikintori Square, together with the new extension to the Tampere Art Museum, provides a bold and contextual response to the historic context of Pyynikintori. The enhanced presence of the building and the layered public space together create a new urbanity, which reinstates the historic relationship that the two once enjoyed, and opens its future narrative as the City’s Cultural Quarter.