“Piippu” (“chimney” in Finnish), an art beacon in the center of Tampere simultaneously creates a functional, flexible museum, with an innovative architectural identity that reinforces the memory of the Finlayson area. Hey5’s proposal for the new Sara Hildén Art Museum turns verticality into an asset, creating a strong urban presence, respecting the site’s urban structure and architecture, and pushing the visitor experience to new limits.
The design approach fostered the idea of interaction between the urban and natural, creating a gathering point between Wilhelm von Nottbeck Park and the built environment of the Finlayson area. Building vertical rather than horizontal becomes obvious. Verticality liberates three quarters of the site to a versatile and multifunctional public space, benefiting the community and generating a porous boundary between the park and the new museum public spaces.
Building a tower creates a stronger dialogue between the Finlayson area, and both the existing and developing skyline of Tampere. “Piippu” is a reference point that confirms Finlayson’s position in the broader map of the city. The new Sara Hildén art museum will guide visitors from other parts of Tampere to this art and cultural hub. Both the skyline and the street level experience will have a strong impact in Tampere’s heritage as well as the city’s ambitious future.
Simplicity in construction and architectural solution is key. The program is organized into four levels of hierarchy. Flexible loading premises and adjacent technical facilities in the lower level, public services in the immediate floor above, followed by the exhibition facilities and restaurant in the next 6 floors, finishing with personal and technical facilities on the top. The structural solution is rational, functional, and allows for flexibility to be achieved from design efficiency by adapting the spaces to the art pieces.
On the outside, the formal purity of the volume’s exterior is altered by the texture of the brick, turning a simple element, related to its surroundings, into an expressive object. By using an off-white colored brick, the most representative material in the area.
On the inside, design and materiality remain minimal and in line with progress, and modernity, reflecting the industrialization in Tampere. High-tech and low-tech, roughness and smoothness, the museum interiors allow visitors to experience a balance of contrasting elements. Rough finish plaster is used on the walls, smooth terrazzo with white aggregate throughout the building’s floors, perforated aluminum open-cell blades ceilings, and bespoke furniture and fittings in smooth mirror-like stainless steel panels.
The urban floor and landscaping area are treated as a patterned textile patchwork, with tonalities that blend with the materiality of the museum, generating a meeting point for urban culture.
Every element from the new Sara Hildén Art Museum, such as the façade, chimney, industrialized interiors, furniture, and the textile patterned exterior pavement, are parts of a mechanism that showcases the Finlayson area in a simple, aesthetically minimal and functional manner. In this way, “Piippu” becomes a timeless piece of architecture, a compact volume fitting effortlessly into the immediate surroundings. By respecting its past, the new museum looks ahead to the future of Tampere.