Table of Contents
Museums That Are Worth Traveling
Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
There is no other institution in the world that looks quite like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, a pleasantly strange circular building that completely reorients how viewers see art. Unlike the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art, a more classical structure, the first structure for this New York Museum contains few right angles. Inside the museum, the art is arranged around a rotunda with a ramp that inclines upward and circles around and around. Unwrapped, that ramp would be quite a quarter-mile long.
The building’s exterior is conceptualized as an “inverted ziggurat,” alluding to its basis in ancient Mesopotamian architecture. He wanted his museum to disturb the ways visitors typically absorb what’s on view, and therein spirit, the building’s walls are tilted.
Originally, visitors were alleged to start at the highest of the rotunda and work their way down, and artworks were alleged to be leaned against those walls rather than mounted, but that plan proved unfeasible. So, too, did think to color the building red, which art adviser Hilla Rebay, the museum’s first director, nixed, viewing the hue as a gaudy one.
Long before the Guggenheim’s opening in 1959, critics and artists spoke out against Wright’s structure. Since then, the reception of the building has changed, and therefore, the Guggenheim is now among the foremost well-attended tourist destinations in New York. Now, numerous people regard the structure itself as a work of art — an interesting conception that Wright himself indeed signaled when he inked its facade, nearly as a painter would with paint.
MAXXI, Rome, Italy
By the time Zaha Hadid was brought on to try to MAXXI, a replacement contemporary art museum in Rome, within the late ’90s, she was already world-renowned for her luxurious structures, which bow and bend in putatively insolvable ways. She applied that signature aesthetic to MAXXI, offering up a severe concrete building that, from above, seems like five elements weaving around one another.
Housed within a black staircase that cuts around and above a white atrium. Hadid preferred to call the museum, which was completed in 2009, a “campus,” alluding to her intention of making something that meshed seamlessly with its surroundings. Set within an area primarily composed of apartment buildings, MAXXI was one of the most significant structures to be erected in the Eternal City in times, and it was saluted with wide praise, indeed from locals who had originally regarded it with dubitation. It remains one of the many major galleries worldwide designed by a woman of color.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, Cape Town, South Africa
Thomas Heatherwick’s tendency toward monumentality has occasionally been his undoing. The New York’s Vessel, which has been viewed as an eyesore and a possible danger to public health, is a perfect example of the same. But together with his Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, he struck all the proper chords, transforming a disused grain silo in Cape Town that, when ranked among Africa’s tallest buildings, into a gleaming art space.
Founded by former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz and opened in 2017, Zeitz MOCAA was built by Heatherwick Studio as an homage to the silos and therefore the corn they once contained. Heatherwick even digitally analyzed a bit of corn once held there and based the resulting building on its form. “My one regret is that we couldn’t have cut out that grain of corn and put it next to the museum on the square,” Heatherwick told Architectural Digest at the time.
The museum has bulging windows meant to recall how densely packed altogether that corn was, also as ovular forms inside resembling cell walls. At its heart, sandwiched between two structures that host galleries, maybe a light-filled atrium adorned with otherworldly sloping forms that combine to make a cathedral-like space.
Shanghai Astronomy Museum, Shanghai, China
Designed by Ennead, the monumental new gallery creates an immersive experience that places callers in direct engagement with real astronomical marvels. Through scale, form, and the manipulation of light, the structure heightens mindfulness of our abecedarian relationship to the sun and the earth’s orbital stir. At square bases, the new astronomical branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum will be the largest gallery worldwide solely devoted to the study of astronomy.
The Oculus, suspended above the main entrance to the Museum, demonstrates the passage of time by tracking a circle of the sun on the ground across the entry galleria and reflecting pool. The Sphere houses the planetarium theatre, which is partial- submerged in the structure. With minimally visible support, it evokes a vision of lightness in anti-gravity.
Bedded in the roof plane of the lower Museum wing, as if rising out of the Earthbound horizon, the sphere gradationally emerges into view as one round the structure, the drama unfolding as though one were approaching earth from one of its moons, allowing callers to witness it as a light mass from below. The Inverted Dome is a large inverted glass pressure structure that sits on top of the central patio of the structure at the roofline so callers can enthrall the center of the glass dish with a disencumbered view of the sky.
Set within an extensive green zone, the Museum grounds include a host of structures and programming including temporary and endless shows, a 78- bottom solar telescope, an overlook, an optic Planetarium, an Education and Research Center, and a Digital Sky Theater. Programming at the Museum will feature immersive surroundings, vestiges, instruments of space disquisition, and educational exhibitry.
Located within the Turkish university town of Eskisehir and opened in 2019, the Odunpazari Modern Art Museum is home to Erol Tabanca’s collection of Turkish modern art and also hosts temporary exhibitions.
Inspired by local traditional wooden Ottoman houses, Odunpazari means “wood market”. It is additionally the name of the region where the institution is sited. The design by Kengo Kuma & Associates looks like a chic cabin, with interlocking boxy structures composed of stacked laminated blonde timber beams that feature Lincoln Log-like slits.
The Japanese architectural firm is understood for using timber in sleek, instead of rugged, ways. For this project, the firm wanted to recreate the urban experience unique to those Ottoman houses, whose cantilevered windows on upper stories when positioned at unlikely angles playfully hang overhead.
The architects said they wanted “to continue the streetscape and recreate the non-linear journey of visiting the within of the museum.” Inside, you would possibly find interlocking beams hovering above your head and opening up to a skylight, or notice a boxy shape twisting ever gently.
Louvre, Abu Dhabi, UAE
At one point in its planning, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was alleged to open alongside arts spaces in Dubai designed by Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid. As of 2022, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is just one of these glamorous, expensive institutions operational. Inaugurated in 2017, the museum was designed by Jean Nouvel and features a big steel dome whose crisscrossing elements let in sunlight and speckle it around the museum’s campus.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was conceived by Nouvel during a lunch conversation in the early 2000s with Thomas Krens, formerly the director of the Guggenheim Museum, and is meant to allude to traditional Middle Eastern architecture. It is situated on its very own island which is composed of 55 individual structures.
A part of a $1.3 billion deal between the French and Emirati governments, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was periodically suffering from the controversy over the alleged non-payment of construction workers who helped build Nouvel’s structure. Still, it’s emerged as a serious attraction in the years since, with crowds coming in droves during its first year.
Louvre, Paris, France
The Louvre had remained unchanged, at least from the outside, for centuries by the time I. M. Pei was asked in 1981 to invigorate an establishment that had grown rusty. Part of his intervention in that gallery was an element that’s now considered a classic glassed-in aggregate that lies at the heart of a gigantic galleria framed by 18th-century structures. On paper, this bold move appeared to spell disaster, but Pei forged onward, convinced that his futuristic addition would usher the Louvre into modernity.
Opened in 1985, the Louvre now acts as one of the main entrances to the museum. The alternative would have been to come in the underground, which Pei planted to be an especially clean way to enter one of the world’s great art institutions.
The aggregate was saluted originally with contestation, with Le Figaro criminating Pei of “megalomania.” But now, along with the wringing staircase beneath it, Pei’s aggregate is one of the Louvre’s defining features, over there with the Mona Lisa. Lower- known, though inversely important, are some aspects Pei added that can’t be seen by the public conference apartments, services, and galleries for Louvre staff members, who preliminarily had to cut the length of the gallery for meetings.
National Museum Modern Art and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea
Tai-Soo Kim, the architect behind the National Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art in, often got inspired by the surrounding landscape when designing his structures. Located shortly from Seoul, this institution was South Korea’s first modern art museum.
To create it, Kim drew on Cheonggyesan Mountain, using pink granite found there because of the basis for the institution. Opened in 1986, the gallery lacks numerous of the frills planted in institutions erected simultaneously. It is less sort of a museum than a fortress—which was, in a way, Kim’s intention. He wanted it to draw on the aesthetics of Buddhist temples and traditional Korean structures so that it could blend in with its surroundings.
“I believe the building should be a part of the land,” he told the Korean Herald in 2016. In combining postmodern styles with centuries-old bones, his structure establishes an understated continuum between Korea’s history and the present.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Opened in 1968, this cantilevered glass structure was designed by the Italian-born Brazilian mastermind Lina Bo Bardi, an icon in her espoused country for her enterprising modern structures. Two storeys of exhibition spaces are suspended off the bottom by four large red columns, connected by bold beams that stretch over the roof.
Bo Bardi worked nearly with mastermind José Carlos Figueiredo Ferraz to pull off this definitive Brutalist feat, known for its stunning combination of lightness and weightiness. But it’s no mere formalist gesture, the architect wanted to go away from open, public space for Sao Paulo residents, instead of allowing an elitist institution to require it over.
Today, the space which provides a dry spot within the city’s wet season and shade within the summer continues to host markets and other sorts of everyday urban life. It is also often the location of major protests within the city.
Below ground, two basement-position bottoms are set into a hillside and house a theater and bookshop. The gallery’s most celebrated element, however, is Bo Bardi’s radical exhibition design. The building has an open floor plan. She tries to showcase canvases not on temporary walls, but on glass “easels” set in blocks of concrete. That way, viewers could see works front and back, and art might be shown in consecutive rows.
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, Baku, Azerbaijan
The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum in Baku had been housed in a 15th-century mosque and a monolith since its founding in the 1960s before it got a so-bad-it’s-great building shaped like a partially unrolled carpet in 2014. Designed by Franz Janz, the structure was opened after UNESCO added the old tradition of Azerbaijani carpet weaving to its “List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
The gallery was opened amid an architectural smash in Baku, where Zaha Hadid had opened her acclaimed Heydar Aliyev Center in 2012. That building and therefore the Carpet Museum would become crucial in bringing postmodern statement structures to a city host to a lot of Soviet-style architecture. Tasked with building a replacement home for the museum’s 10,000-piece collection, Janz took the assignment literally and offered up a structure that appears not entirely unlike the textiles on offer at the museum.
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C., USA
Perhaps the foremost striking building sited on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is the National Museum of African History and Culture (NMAAHC), designed by David Adjaye to make an establishment that doubles as a monument.
Devoid of the white marble typically seen in classical art institutions, this museum is essentially composed rather of slanted bronze aluminum elements on its façade that admit light in strategically arranged spaces.
David Adjaye has spoken of the museum employing a three-part structure that mirrors the movement of Black people out of Africa and across the U.S. over the centuries. He has appertained to the darker underground gallery as a “vault” and its middle situations concentrated on migrations as a “nimbus.” The top-bottom, the most luminous space, represents what David Adjaye calls the “Now,” a space of emancipation in which the trades take priority.
Upon its opening in 2016, the NMAAHC received tremendous praise from critics and was praised worldwide.