Helsinki's Guggenheim competition receives thousands of submissions while city's architects have an alternative plan

Helsinki is set to get its very own Guggenheim museum, but one group of architects have launched a crowdsourcing campaign calling for wider ideas about how to improve the city.

"The Next Helsinki" calls upon "architects, urbanists, landscape architects, artists, environmentalists, students, activists, poets, politicians, and all others who love cities" to submit ideas to transform and develop the city.

The competition is an alternative to the popular Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, the first stage of which received 1,715 submissions from 77 countries, it was announced this week. The museum's two-part competition was launched on June 4 and 5 with events in Helsinki and at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

"The Next Helsinki" campaign has positioned itself as an alternative to the Guggenheim proposal, with the website stating: "Now, the Guggenheim Foundation has launched a design competition on one of Helsinki's most valuable and compelling physical sites for a new Guggenheim building, in hopes of a transformation akin to the "miracle" in Spain.

"The City of Helsinki is tempted to spend hundreds of millions of municipal euros in return for the benefits of the branding of the city with someone else's mark. Is this really the best use for the site and tax money?"

The competition has been organized by Checkpoint Helsinki, GULF and Terreform. Anonymous submissions will be judged by an independent panel of industry experts, with the aim of bringing the winning concepts into the public arena in order to eventually be brought to life.

The deadline for "The Next Helsinki" is March 2, 2015.

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