[ Modern Lines : Steven Holl Architecture ] KIASMA : The Museum for contemporary Art : Helsinki, Finland
Kiasma (built 1993–1998) is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki, Finland. Its name kiasma, Finnish for chiasma, alludes to the basic conceptual idea of its architect, Steven Holl. The museum exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery founded in 1990. Its central goal is to make contemporary art better known and strengthen its status.
An architectural design competition to design a contemporary arts museum in Helsinki was held in 1992. The competition was meant for architects from the Nordic and Baltic countries. Five internationally renowned architects participated among whom there was only one US citizen. In 1993 the work Chiasma by the American architect Steven Holl was selected from the 516 competitors. The construction of the disputed and controversial Kiasma was started in 1996. It was opened in 1998.
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Meet the Architect:
Steven Holl (born December 9, 1947, Bremerton, Washington) is an American architect and watercolorist, perhaps best known for the 1998 Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland, the 2003 Simmons Hall at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the celebrated 2007 Bloch Building addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and the praised 2009 Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex in Beijing, China.
Holl graduated from the University of Washington and pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970. In 1976, he attended graduate school at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and established his offices New York City. Holl has taught at Columbia University since 1981.
Holl's architecture has undergone a shift in emphasis, from his earlier concern with typology to his current concern with a phenomenological approach; that is, with a concern for man's existentialist, bodily engagement with his surroundings. The shift came about partly due to his interest in the writings of philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty and architect-theorist Juhani Pallasmaa.
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Beauty awakens the soul to act.
--- Dante Alighieri