helsinki-based firm lahdelma & mahlamäki architects has unveiled its competition proposal for the ‘museum for the defense and siege of leningrad’, an institution planned for st petersburg, russia. titled ‘requiem’, the spiral-shaped design is buried in the landscape, with its exhibition halls buried in a vast cavern below ground. the visitor route corkscrews out the ground, offering views of the city beyond.

lahdelma mahlamaki leningrad siege museum
all images by brick visual, courtesy of lahdelma & mahlamäki architects



developed in partnership with ralph appelbaum associates, lahdelma & mahlamäki’s proposal includes three primary components: the ‘thread of life’, which refers to the sunken museum and exhibition center; the ‘memorial of heroes of leningrad’, a long, low wall dedicated to the resistance and the siege; and the ‘square of testimony’, an inverted stepped pyramid that sits at the center of the park, providing a place for contemplation and meditation.

lahdelma mahlamaki leningrad siege museum
the spiraling visitor route corkscrews out the ground



the north end of the site is raised to block out vehicular noise and maintain a tranquil environment. meanwhile, a natural meadow of wild flowers and grasses aims to connect the museum to the city and its neo-classical grid. ‘this approach helps resolve issues of connectivity and accessibility on both a city-wide and local level,’ explains the architects. ‘these additions help turn the site into a space of significance which connects the existing history to its history, which could welcome tourists and at the same time be taken by the city inhabitants as their own.’


lahdelma & mahlamäki’s plans made it into the competition’s final four entries, but ultimately lost out to a design from russian practice studio44.

lahdelma mahlamaki leningrad siege museum
the spiral-shaped design is buried in the landscape



project info:


lahdelma & mahlamäki architects:
ilmari lahdelma and rainer mahlamäki with jukka savolainen, taavi henttonen, shaun leung, klaudia golaszewska, kateryna rybenchuk and yehan zhang
exhibition design: rick sobel, ralph appelbaum associates
advisors: markus lähteenmäki, anastasia basova
visualization: brick visual
scale model: seppo rajakoski