Alvar Aalto Museum Extension Competition

Alvar Aalto Extension

Our proposal imagines a connective building that is spatially, tectonically and materially a blend between two significant works of Aalto’s oeuvre – an exercise in connection and continuity. The project is a piece of connective tissue, mediating east-west between the city and our proposed garden, and north-south between the bulk and mass of the existing museums. We propose a playful moderation of scale and rhythm of the extension’s facade, a spatial continuity through a continuous foor plate blending stair, terraces, workstations, ramp and seating. Material qualities are articulated through a timber lattice beam ceiling structure with diffuse skylight.

The lattice structure is inserted between the two museums, generated by extrapolating and extending the structural grids of the museums and superimposing these grids over each other to produce a multi-layered structure. The extension maintains tectonic, spatial and interior continuity with both museums−an in-between building generated by material and spatial relationships extracted from within its context.

The lattice structure and ceiling showcases Finland’s historical and contemporary skill with timber. Reminiscent of laminated boat structures, the roof utilizes laminated timber technology and floats above the floor plate, tiered shop and workstations, gently diffusing daylight into the space through its ceiling. In the winter, the extension will softly glow from the suspended canopy of pendant lights, a welcoming place in the spirit of Finnish hospitality and openness.


The tiered spaces function either as a shared retail space, or can be converted to also be used as either additional exhibition area or as a primary entertainment space for the two museums. When configured for an exhibition, our proposal encourages the curatorial diffusion of the two museums to encourage an expanded program of Finnish and international cultural material.

A collaboration with Kevin Liu.