This is the unique courtyard of the Amos Rex art museum in Helsinki, Finland. Amos Rex was opened in 2018 and immediately became a sensation rarely seen among Finnish museums. Most days since the opening people have been queuing to see the unique exhibition space built underground where once was the main bus station of Helsinki.
What is Amos Rex?
Amos Rex is an art museum named partly after Amos Anderson (1878-1961), a businessman and newspaper publisher who was a well-known art sponsor since the 1920´s. The other part of the name, Rex, comes from the movie theater called Bio Rex that used to be in the Lasipalatsi building. Bio Rex was opened in the late 1930s and was the most modern movie theater in Finland.
The white building surrounding the Amos Rex courtyard (in the picture) is called Lasipalatsi (“Glass palace” in English). It used to house the Bio Rex movie theater since the 1930´s and during modern times a couple of cafés, a restaurant and various shops have been located there. Entrance to the museum can be found on the other side (the road Mannerheimintie side) of Lasipalatsi.
The unique Amos Rex courtyard
The Amos Rex museum is actually, for the most part, built underground below the “cones” you can see dominating the courtyard. The courtyard itself used to be the main bus station of Helsinki for many, many decades! The old bus station building roof can be seen in the right bottom corner of the photo. Buses used to park circularly around the white clocktower in the middle, enter and exit where the bottom right corner of the photo is.
The bus station was closed and buses moved to the nearby underground terminal more than 10 years ago. The yard was left as it was for many years, until the Amos Rex construction started few years ago.
Today the exhibition space of Amos Rex can be found under the courtyard pavement and those cones visible in this picture. The cones are actually windows that let the museum visitors see the sky – and occasional passer-by peeking below inside the museum from the other side.
The Amos Rex museum quickly became hugely popular. People have queued inside for hours every weekend and sometimes during the weekday mornings too. And the courtyard has become a popular hangout spot for people of Helsinki and tourists alike. On a sunny day you´re likely to see families and children climbing around those cones and having a good time in this new hangout spot.
What else is in the picture?
The Amos Rex is located right in the downtown Helsinki. The building on the right is the Forum shopping mall. On the left is the Sokos & Mark´s & Spencer department store and hotel. In the background you can see the classic Stockmann department store (the little tower on the right in the background) and the Helsinki Chatedral on the left in the distance. I took the photo on one September morning a bit after 8 in the morning as I was walking to work from the railway station.
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This is Amos Rex on the map: