COMMENTARY: Guggenheim elections in the offing in Helsinki
By Anu Uimonen
After having prepared his proposal for the Guggenheim project for more than three months, Helsinki Mayor Jussi Pajunen has replaced one great leap forward with four smaller steps.
When the report drafted by the Guggenheim working group was made public on January 10th, Pajunen announced that the City Council was to make a decision on the fate of the museum project already on February 15th.
Moreover, a positive decision would imply Helsinki’s commitment to implement the project, he said.
After a time-out, the project has now been split into four stages, of which the report published in January was the first one.
The second stage, on which the City Board is to take a stand next Monday, includes a decision to establish a foundation to run the museum and to launch an architectural competition.
At the third stage, a decision on the construction of the museum will be made by Helsinki’s new City Council next year.
But before that happens Finland will hold municipal elections on October 28th, 2012.
In other words, Guggenheim-fuelled elections are in the offing.
Since the current crop of councillors are fairly evenly divided for and against, it will be an interesting few months in prospect.
The fourth stage, namely the grand opening of the Guggenheim Helsinki Museum, continues to be scheduled for 2018, at least according to Pajunen’s calendar.
Even though the progress of the project has been obstructed, the original deadline has not been delayed.
It is less painful to take many small steps than to make one great leap forward.
Once the architectural competition has been completed, there will be increasing pressure to follow through on the plans.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 17.4.2012
More on this subject:
Third time lucky for Katajanokka site?
Previously in HS International Edition:
Undecided City Council members hold balance in Guggenheim decision (28.3.2012)
Working group favours construction of Guggenheim museum in Helsinki (11.1.2012)
ANU UIMONEN / Helsingin Sanomat