A Factory of Arts

Factory of Arts is our proposal for the new Sara Hildèn Museum in Tampere. The project is intimately connected with the city and its industrial heritage, with the Finlayson area as its vital core. The textile industry has been the main productive sector until the whole urban district was abandoned in the late ’70s. In recent years, a new wave of material and cultural renovation is transforming the former industrial complex into an attractive and vibrant cultural venue for the city. Our project takes inspiration from this unique and complex background, to realize a building that is both integrated and prominent within its context. The chosen language is borrowed from the industrial surroundings but transformed into a piece of contemporary architecture. The southern façade is simple but refined, and it interfaces with the historical old factory school, while a taller tower arising on the southern part of the lot is connected to the main building at mid-height. This separate structure serves as entrance, with the visitors climbing up by foot or elevator. This element represents a distinctive sign for the museum, that lies in the urban ground as a giant work of art. This new landmark is at the same time the metaphor of a chimney: what was once the symbol of Tampere industrial power becomes the image of the bright future of the city.

The new museum moves from the actual site on the lake Näsijärvi banks, to the heart of Finlayson area. The project site was once part of the Wilhelm von Nottbeck Park but was transformed into a parking lot, located between the old factory-school and the Finlayson Palace, which is a few dozen meters away. The park is now open to the public and it is one of the most important green areas in the city, stretching from the site area to the lake northwards along the Tammerkoski rapids.

Working and service spaces are located facing south, inside the main core of the building. At the centre of this volume there are located an elevator for artwork, an elevator for people and a technical shaft. On the two opposite ends of the block, two staircases serve as service connection and emergency escape route. The eastern e western wings, both in exhibition and working spaces, are at different levels at each floor, so that exterior volumes on northern façade can be dynamically distributed.

The tower allows visitors to directly ascend to the foyer, which is not situated at ground floor, but on the top, taking advantage of the view above other buildings towards city centre, and to the lake on the opposite side. The attic contains the ticket office, museum shop, lounge café and a multi-functional and meeting space. At the centre lies an infinity pool that overflows into a lower one located 3m below in the eastern wing.

From the higher floor, in the western wing of the foyer, the exhibition starts, descending from the top of the building down to the park, in a serpentine path that connects every public room in a precise sequence. While the exhibition path ideally continues down in the park at the end, giving the possibility to place other pavilions outside, the greenery of nature climbs up to the foyer, spreading from a green terrace to the other. The building itself creates a canyon in which a waterfall descends, diving multiple times, with glass corridors crossing very closely to it at each floor. Industrial architecture finds in this image a connection with nature that has never been seen before.

The entire path described by the flow of visitors, from the tower to the foyer, and then down along rooms and glass bridges, is highlighted by a textile coloured envelope that recalls the past industrial production of the area and it is also an homage to Sara Hildèn’s passion for fashion. All glass surfaces have black metal frames with a staggered theme that gives a retro vibe to the internal spaces. The architecture of the Sara Hilden Museum goes beyond modernism to reach a freer artistic expression, made of light, colour and integration with nature.

Tampere, Finland


Museum / Gallery


Andrea LUI, Michele SANTOVITO, Filippo TERENZI