Guggenheim decision to be put off until next year
A bright screen shines in the middle of a dark room. Helsinki Mayor Jussi Pajunen (Nat. Coalition Party) and his staff are promoting the Guggenheim museum project on Facebook and Twitter. The main advocates are Pajunen himself and Janne Gallen-Kallela Sirén, director of the Helsinki City Museum of Art.
A moment before Pajunen told reporters about his proposal concerning the Guggenheim project.
Pajunen proposes that the city’s political decision-makers should take a stand in the coming weeks on organising an architectural competition, and setting up a foundation to raise outside funding for the project.
Originally a decision on whether or not to buy the Guggenheim licence worth EUR 23 million was to have been made this month. Now, however, all that is required is a decision on a limited licence costing EUR 1.5 million.
After the licence and the architecture competition, the next phase of the Guggenheim museum project would cost EUR 4.8 million, with Helsinki paying the greater part of it – four million; the remaining EUR 0.8 million would come from the Ministry of Employment and the economy – if the museum is built of wood.
“It was hard to find a model for an agreement which would have made it possible to implement a promise that Helsinki will not pay, or guarantee a share of outside financing. For that reason it was better to take action, and only later to make the final decisions”, Pajunen says.
By “final decisions”, Pajunen means decisions on actually building the museum.
A decision on possibly building the proposed museum is to be made in the autumn of 2013 by the City Council that takes office after municipal elections later this year.
Pajunen noted that the City Council will then have the best possible information on the architecture costs, as well as the availability of private financing and state assistance.
He estimates that the investment costs will be between EUR 130 and 140 million, and he believes that half of the sum will come from the state.
The largest political groups on the City Council welcome the proposal.
“This limits risks and there is no 20-year commitment to a licence fee without knowing if the museum will be built”, says Taru Rauhamäki, leader of the largest group in the council – that of the National Coalition Party.
Ville Ylikahari, chairman of the second-largest group, the Green League, agrees. “It is better to know what is being decided at this stage. It is easier for those who take a positive view of the museum in principle to support this.
Not everybody was convinced by Pajunen’s proposal.
“This is still completely a project of public funding, and now we have to consider whether or not it is economically viable. We want some organisation other than the foundation itself to evaluate the project. If we do not get that evaluation, we will vote in favour of rejecting the project already at this point”, said Osku Pajamäki of the third largest group in the council, the Social Democratic Party.
The City Board will discuss the proposal on Monday, and it could reach the City Council on May 9th.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Guggenheim decision delayed (15.3.2012)
Majority of members of Helsinki City Council oppose Guggenheim (28.2.2012)
Proposal to build Guggenheim museum out of wood (12.4.2012)
Undecided City Council members hold balance in Guggenheim decision (28.3.2012)