General Post Office
- 100 m
The story of the Kiasma building began with an architectural competition held in 1992. The winning entry – one of 516 proposals – was Chiasma by the American architect Steven Holl. The name, which denotes a point of crossing, was changed to Kiasma, and was incorporated into the name of the museum itself. The opening of the new museum was celebrated in May 1998.
The concept of Kiasma involves the building’s mass intertwining with the geometry of the city and landscape which are reflected in the shape of the building. An implicit cultural line curves to link the building with Finlandia Hall while it also engages a “natural line” connecting to the back landscape and Töölönlahti Bay. The horizontal light of northern latitudes is enhanced by a waterscape that would serve as an urban mirror, thereby linking the museum to the Töölönlahti Bay area in the heart of the city and the vista towards the central park, which on a clear day, in Alvar Aalto’s word’s, “extends to Lapland.”
Although Holl’s museum departs also in other respects from the tradition of Finnish modernism, it suggests that architecture, art and culture are not disparate phenomena but essential elements of the city and cityscape.