Museum of History and the Future, Finland

Contest site: Museum of History and the Future, Finland
Contest site: Museum of History and the Future, Finland

Source:  Image by Robson90 Shutterstock

The City of Turku in Finland has launched an open international competition – featuring a €175,000 prize fund – for a new waterfront Museum of History and the Future [Deadline: 16 January 2024]

The competition – launched in partnership with the Finnish Association of Architects – seeks ‘bold and visionary’ proposals for a ‘world’s first’ museum which responds to the unique history and environment of its waterfront site and provides a new landmark for the region.

The winning concept will be constructed next to Turku’s historic 740-year-old castle and comes three years after Lithuanian-Finnish team After Party won a competition to rethink the surrounding Linnanniemi waterfront.

The new 7,000m² museum is one of several new commercial, tourism and public space uses planned for the cape on the west bank for the Aura River Delta, which will be freed up for development following the reorganisation of existing ferry terminals in 2025.


Minna Arve, mayor of Turku and chair of the competition jury, said: ‘We are organising an international design competition for the Museum of History and the Future to find a bold and visionary design for the museum to be located in the Linnanniemi area which will shape our perceptions of museums and be suitable for a historically and culturally significant area.

‘In recent years, the city of Turku has made significant strategic investments in culture to strengthen its identity as a European city of culture and an attractive tourist destination.

‘The Art House Turku, which opened in 2022, and the coming Music Hall Fuuga complement the art and cultural services already located along the river Aura. The Museum of History and Future continues the series of major cultural investments, and it strengthens Turku as a city of culture.’

Turku is the oldest city in Finland and was the country’s principal settlement until Helsinki was made the capital in 1812. Turku Castle occupies a key waterfront site, overlooking the entrance by river to the city, and is currently surrounded by several ferry terminals and other port buildings.

Key aims of the competition include creating a new facility that focusses on stories of history and the possibilities of the future, balancing sustainable development with ‘aesthetic, functional and technical-economical’ solutions.


The project, planned to complete in 2029, will deliver a new energy efficient and climate resistant structure featuring ‘interior spaces that are excellently suited for the intended purpose, and ecology.’

The building – planned for a prominent 13,920m² waterfront site next to Forum Marinum Maritime Centre and Turku Castle – will feature exhibition halls along with an auditorium, cloakrooms, shop, a restaurant and café and external landscaping. Designs will also need to provide for a potential 2,500 m² extension in the future.

Applications may be in Finnish or English. Judges will include Arve; the city’s culture director Anu Laitila; Juhani Ruohonen, head of museum services; and the architect Mari Virtanen.

The overall winner, to be announced in June 2024, will receive a €70,000 prize and see their concept taken forward for construction.  A second prize of €45,000 and third prize of €30,000 will also be awarded along with three ‘purchases’ each worth €10,000.

Competition details

Project title Museum of History and the Future
Client City of Turku
Contract value Tbc
First round deadline 2pm local time, 16 January 2024
Restrictions At least one person belonging to the working group must have the right to practice the profession of architect in their own country. After the competition, it will be required that the design team includes a person who is qualified to act as the main designer of the project, as well as a person with Finnish language skills. The design team can be supplemented after the competition
More information


Ville-Matti Rautjoki, project manager of the Museum of History and the Future

Ville-Matti Rautjoki

Source:Image by Anniina Lehtokari

Ville-Matti Rautjoki

Why are you holding an international competition for a new Museum of History and the Future in Turku?

The purpose of the international competition is to find an architecturally high-quality design for the implementation of the Museum of History and the Future, to be built in the Linnanniemi area. Linnanniemi’s unique history and maritime character are the key factors in the attraction of the area, which is being developed as part of the expanding city centre. The new, open and easily approachable museum will be a new landmark and among the first new buildings in the area under development.

What is the vision for this new museum and its important waterfront site?

In the first Museum of History and the Future in the world, the stories of Finland's oldest city and its people will come to life and increase our understanding of the past and the present. The museum will combine new ways of storytelling with experimental presentation methods used in science centres. The new museum looks at possible futures through history and boldly examines history from perspectives of the future. It offers new, surprising and multi-voiced perspectives on the past, present and future – building a more sustainable and just world. Together with Turku Castle, the new museum will form a key part of the identity of the area and the overall development of Linnanniemi. Special attention should be paid in the planning of the new museum to the significant status of Turku Castle as the area’s historic landmark, as seen from different directions, especially from the sea. When approaching from the city centre along the riverside, the new museum will be visible alongside Turku Castle.

What sort of design teams would you like to see step forward for this important opportunity?

We are looking for a design team that can take into account the historically valuable environment, but at the same time bring a bold new architectural element to the area. In the design of the future museum building, as well as in the renewal of the entire Linnanniemi area, ecological aspects are at the centre, so these issues should be carefully considered in the design. The building's function as a museum sets its own requirements. Knowledge of the special requirements of museum operations would be useful in planning.

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