Kiasma was designed by American architect Steven Holl. The museum opened to the public in The exhibition spaces in Kiasma are located on four floors, in addition to which there is Kiasma Theatre on the ground floor. Materials Kiasma is made of Light lives in Kiasma The most important building material in Kiasma is light. Architect Steven Holl was fascinated by the natural light in Finland, the way it lives with the changing seasons and times of day. The shapes and textures of the building were designed with light in mind.

Author:Aralabar Samukus
Language:English (Spanish)
Published (Last):3 May 2004
PDF File Size:11.66 Mb
ePub File Size:1.12 Mb
Price:Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]

Through care in development of details and materials, the museum provides a dynamic yet subtle spatial form, extending towards the city to the south and the landscape to the north.

The geometry has an interior mystery and an exterior horizon that, like two hands clasping each other, form the architectonic equivalent of a public invitation. The interiors refer to the landscape and form the site that, in this special place and circumstance, is a synthesis of building and landscape…a kiasma. Sited in the heart of Helsinki, the project began in as a competition between architects. Inside the museum provides a variety of spatial experiences.

The firm considered the range of contemporary artwork, and tried to anticipate the needs of a variety of artists. The general character of the rooms, which are almost rectangular with one wall curved, allows for a silent yet dramatic backdrop for the exhibition of contemporary art.

These rooms are silent, but not static; they are differentiated through their irregularity. Particular to Helsinki is the horizontal natural light of the northern latitudes.

The slight variation in room shape and size due to the gently curving section of the building allows natural light to enter in several different ways. The curved roof allows secondary skylights while horizontal light is deflected down through the section along the center. Thus natural light is able to penetrate both upper and lower levels of the museum. In addition, the curved roof section with its "refracting" skylight introduces another means for distributing light to galleries below the top level.

The dynamic internal circulation of the building, with its curving ramps and stairs, allows for an open interactive viewing, inspiring the visitor to choose his or her own route through the galleries.

Unlike a hierarchical sequenced or ordered movement, this open ended casual circulation provokes moments of pause, reflection, and discovery. Congratulations to Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art for a great first two decades!



As the metal ages, it acquires a slightly darker patina. They were sandpapered by hand with horizontal strokes, giving the aluminium a surface that refracts light. These are made from acid-reddened textured brass, treated with heat and chemicals. Most of the glass surfaces are sandblasted, using aluminium oxide or silicon dioxide instead of sand. This creates a prismatic surface that refracts the light beautifully. The other glazed walls are steel curtain walls. The floor is dark grey, almost black, concrete.


Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Chiasma is indeed a scientific term indicating the intersection of filaments, such as optic nerves, in anatomy and the exchange of genetic material between two chromosomes in genetics. Why this quite uncommon world, dubbed Kiasma in Finnish, has also become the name of the museum itself becomes evident when examining it a bit closer. This attitude is particularly evident at the Kiasma, where contribution and participation to activities by the public, by children especially, is strongly encouraged. Nordic countries light differs from that of any other place: it changes substantially through the seasons and in Finland can frequently be a horizontal beam entering the buildings from directions that are uncommon at southern latitudes. Thus the core of the building, a narrow internal space dominated by the long curved ramp connecting the lobby with the exhibition galleries, would be very dark if not illuminated by a glass ceiling which provides a vertical illumination that, also due to the curved wall enclosing the space, dramatically evolves during the times of the day.


Helsinki | An overview of the Kiasma museum by Steven Holl

Save this picture! While the need to showcase the cultural treasures contained within is self-evident, the need to connect these sheltered exhibition spaces to the outside world is less so, and in some cases is overlooked entirely. Even monumental design that turns the museum itself into a sculptural element may fail to make a reference to its particular surroundings. The northern face of the museum.

Related Articles