Its architecture is the major exhibit of any modern museum. Fortunately, many collections are quite worthy of the building that houses them


Azerbaijan | ✈ Baku

The Curvature of Space

Not a single static line – full dynamics: The Heydar Aliyev Center, opened in 2012, has already become one of the principal places of interest in Baku. It is designed to demonstrate modern-day Azerbaijan as a goal-oriented and actively developing global state. The sophisticated building designed by Zaha Hadid hosts exhibitions, conferences, and a museum dedicated to the country’s history and the life of its first President.

China | ✈ Shanghai

A Fundamental Rethink

This huge inverted pyramid nicknamed the Oriental Crown for its reference to the country’s traditional architecture was created as the Chinese pavilion for the World Exhibition Expo-2010 in Shanghai. After the event, it was opened in 2012 as Asia’s largest art museum. The permanent exposition includes about 14 thousand items – the works by the Chinese painters of the 19–20th centuries and the modern day are presented particularly well. One of its floors is dedicated to the Shanghai animation studio, another one – to exhibitions of masterpieces from foreign museums. Entrance is free.

Austria | Graz ✈ Vienna

Extraterrestrial Invasion

Friendly Alien – this is the nickname given to the Kunsthaus Art Museum built in Graz, Austria, to the designs of the English architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier. The venue, opened in 2003, never ceases to amaze with its unusual shapes that dramatically contrast with the traditional architecture of the old neighborhood. Kunsthaus holds exhibitions focused on the latest trends in contemporary art, and its LED façade turns into a screen for multimedia projects.

France | ✈ Paris

Illusive Transparency

The play of light and reflections, the intricate curves of the roof, the complex structure strained to the limit of technological capability: the Louis Vuitton Foundation, opened in 2014 and dedicated to contemporary art, strives onward to the future at full speed under its twelve glass sails. The work by Frank Gehry emphasizes an important trend: art should not break the harmony with nature. Before construction, the surrounding waters, flora, and fauna were studied, and the entire project was perfectly integrated in the landscape of Bois de Boulogne.

Switzerland | Bern (✈ Zurich, Geneva)

Going Deep into Obscurity

The lines of the Zentrum Paul Klee, opened in 2005, resemble those of the surrounding landscape: Renzo Piano, the author of the project, decided that as the famous painter and ideologist of the European avant-garde was an outstanding personality, the building for his works should also be extraordinary. One of the three “hills” hosts a hall for conferences and concerts (Klee loved music), the second – an exhibition of watercolors and graphics, and the third is for research activities.

Canada | ✈ Toronto

Plenty of Everything

The Royal Ontario Museum is the largest museum in Canada (6 million exhibits!) and the most remarkable one thanks to an annex constructed in 2007 and looking as if it has grown out of the ancient building. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind and called the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal in honor of the sponsor who supported the project. The shape is no coincidence: the architect was inspired by the mineral collection in the museum of natural history, art, and the world culture.

Greece | ✈ Athens

Into the Light

Creation of a worthy setting for the foundation stones of European culture and what’s more in the very center of an ancient city is a very demanding duty. Architect Bernard Tschumi accepted the challenge and designed a new light and spacious three-storey building for the New Acropolis Museum. It was opened in 2009 and bears an allusion to the ancient Parthenon. The glass roof allows you to enjoy the antique statues in daylight, while the floor displays the archaeological excavation sites with ancient artifacts.

Usa | (✈ Los Angeles)

The Wow Factor

Guided by the idea of making modern art comprehensible for the general audience, American philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad founded a museum with no entrance fee. It opened in 2015 in the center of Los Angeles. The building project was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro architect bureau. In addition to the exhibition galleries, the tracery façade of The Broad houses storage space for the collection consisting of two thousand exhibits, and the headquarters of the Broad Foundation that leases artworks to the museums worldwide.

Brazil | ✈ Rio De Janeiro

Come Tomorrow

The Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) that opened in 2015 is cosily located under a white wing of yet another masterpiece by Santiago Calatrava. The main goal of this institution is to encourage visitors to reflect on eternal questions – who we are, where we go, and what each of us does to make our future more beautiful and less cruel. The possible scenarios for fifty years ahead are presented in interactive multimedia installations that combine science and art.

Israel | Jerusalem ( ✈ Tel Aviv )

Never to Be Repeated

The exhibitions of the Holocaust History Museum are emotionally balanced, the guides speak in a calm voice, but it is impossible to forget a visit here – this is an experience that changes a person forever. The entire building, designed by the genius Moshe Safdie and opened in 2005, is much more than just the right cover. The corners, cracks, sloping walls, bold lighting solutions – the architecture of this space multiplies the impression from what you see and finally provides a genuine catharsis.


Published on: December 28, 2017

Text: Alena Tveritina