Gosta on the Rocks

Serlachius museum Gösta – Mänttä, Finland


Competition 2011


In collaboration with MoederscheimMoonen Architects


For: Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation





The current composition of the Joenniemi Manor site shows a delicate balance between cultivated landscape design, the manor, and the surrounding distinctive Finnish environment with lakes and woods. The goal of ‘Gösta on the Rocks’ is to respect this balance, while implementing a considerable amount of programme to the site, and to emphasize the orientation of the existing manor to the lake. Within the search for this premise, our team concluded that in the current garden, the classical symmetrical paths of Paul Olsson’s landscape design can serve as an ideal blueprint for a future extension. The orientation of this garden also includes two fundamental aspects for a successful implementation of a museum extension; the sloping landscape allows it to develop as a building as well as a pedestal; emphasizing the manor in its solitaire presence. The second aspect is the north-south orientation; a key factor for the realization of natural daylight in exhibition spaces.
The chosen strategy keeps the main building as symbolic centre in the openness of the whole area and respects the diverse qualities of the surrounding garden. The embedded position allows the landscape and existing paths to connect to the public rooftop and works as a balcony for the main building.


The program of the new extension is spread out within a concise distance of the symmetrical paths and is subdivided in diverse functional clusters. Placing these functions along the downhill facades leaves a central and meandering space in between. This space can be qualified as the aorta of the building; a logistic area which connects all the parts of the extension and the existing manor building. For the visitor it will feel as a natural path thanks to its strong direction towards the southern daylight and the lakeview. For the staff it will work as a functional and pleasant environment to work in.
The devision in separate volumes makes it easy to design each space on the basis of it’s intrinsic necessities like volume, size, height, and daylight. This results in a precise and accurate design strategy and varying accessible roof landscape. The whole will be covered with stone as reference to its local geological origin and for making a firm base for the existing manor. The stone cladding is set up as folded ribs placed perpendicular to the orientation of the extension. This direction allows it to fold and open up on the roof to provide in daylight for the exhibition spaces.


When entering the manor from the front, an elegant ramp will lead you to the entrance and foyer. On this sublevel you’ll have a wide and open view over the assembly hall and the archway under the existing manor building. In the transition to the new extension you can feel the presence of the manor above, due to the use of similar brickwork. Within this archway you can find your way to the wardrobe and the toilets, and a new transparent staircase and elevator connect the museum extension level with the manor housing the original art collection. Coming out of the archway you’ll arrive in the open area from where you can visit all the exhibition spaces, the pedagogic facilities. At the end the building unfolds with a restaurant offering an open view over the lake.