It may be good news, we will post it anyway.
The unseemly rush with which Helsinki’s local elected politicians had been asked to decide on whether or not a Guggenheim franchise should or should not grace the Baltic’s Daughter’s waterfront, has been somewhat calmed. Almost a whole extra month has been granted to our councillors to reassess the proposals, as YLE reports. With any luck this will help them to familiarise themselves with what they are actually deciding on.
Culture(-and-basketball) Minister Paavo Arhinmäki reminds us that no money is forthcoming from the state and tells us that he reckons the Guggenheim brand is not worth what Helsinki is being asked to pay for it. Mr Pajunen does not like all this, but unlike poor JGKS who has to run an art museum in the sweet smell of popcorn in the Tennis Palace, it’s still unclear why Pajunen should be so gung-ho about the scheme in the first place.
But some parallels do suggest themselves.
Doc Point’s documentary film festival is enlightening Helsinki audiences about the bluff and bluster of foreign investors (Trump for one), who offer to develop beautiful environments in the name of progress and er… Apologies, I digress.
More bad news, alas, related to foreign investors and really big money in urban development. A friend reports that there are many self-styled progressives (Greens to be precise) who think it would be right to build a 33-storey hotel (which was initially given planning permission at a measly 16 storeys), a new “landmark” in Jätkäsaari. The location is effectively within the little peninsula that forms the core of our elegant city. There goes our silhouette and, with it, our uniqueness.
Wonder what other dreams there are among Helsinkians other than these dreams of high buildings and, well, whatever it is that the Helsinki Guggenheim represents? A fabulously unique new public library maybe? Or one that looks like it was created on a computer like computer-generated environments everywhere else?
p.s. check out some wonderful and wonderfully subtly titled photographs at learning to see Helsinki.