Every so often, the arts world gets a facelift. That is, famed architects are tapped by museum organizations around the globe to refurbish, refine and refinish the exteriors of buildings that house history’s most precious artifacts, making the museums works of art themselves.
Pérez Art Museum
Last year, Miami Art Museum (MAM) made an astonishing announcement to the city’s residents that MAM would be unveiled as the new and improved Pérez Art Museum Miami in December 2013. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the ambitious undertaking will be a LEED-certified green building which was inspired by historic Stiltsville in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Breathtaking aesthetic design elements double as energy-saving construction, like the hanging gardens at the entrance, which will be irrigated by collected rainwater.
Retretti Art Museum
In anticipation of this new, interesting-looking museum construction, Mogul has compiled a list of the world’s coolest, most stunning museums. Another nature-inspired build, the Retretti Art Museum in Punkaharju, Finland, features a unique twist. The entrance is entirely unassuming, but the fascination lies beneath, with exhibitions on display throughout its 40,000-square-foot underground caves.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
An expert marriage between nature and human innovation is on full display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO. Known for its collection of Asian art, this world-renowned museum was designed by local architects, Wight and Wight, and boasts architect Steven Holl’s recent Bloch Building addition amid expertly executed landscaping.
Milwaukee Art Museum
At the Milwaukee Art Museum, the building’s moveable architecture actually works with nature to create an external exhibition. The museum’s first-of-its-kind Burke Brise Soleil sunscreen sits atop Windhover Hall and features ultrasonic wind sensors that signal the wings to close if wind speeds surpass 23 miles per hour.
The Royal Ontario Museum
Reflective surfaces, protruding shapes and patchwork elements make the 2007 new entrance of The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Canada, art in its own right. Daniel Libeskind’s, The Crystal, is comprised of glass and aluminum on steel frames, and it complements the original building and eastern wing. As the country’s largest museum, ROM encompasses exhibits of natural history and world cultures.
The Salvador Dali Museum
In the case of the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, global firm HOK wove a fluid, glass encasement directly into a traditionally square concrete structure. What’s more impressive is that the 1,000-plus glass panes used to create the shapes can sustain Category-5 hurricane winds that Florida’s clime occasionally brings.
Museu Oscar Niemeyer
A brilliant balancing act, the eponymous Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba, Brazil, features an eye-shaped exhibition space by the Brazilian architect. A curved ramp connects the museum’s two freestanding buildings, which house a curated collection of visual arts, urban design and planning, and architecture.
Antwerp, Belgium’s Museum aan de Stroom juts out among its surrounding low-profile city district. Neutelings Riedijk Architects used an Indian red sandstone and glass combination for the asymmetrical stack, with the specific mission of conveying the story of Antwerp’s historical significance as a bustling port city.
The New Museum
Take a similarly designed structure and place it in a vastly different urban landscape, and it can embody an entirely distinct presentation. New York’s New Museum appropriately displays contemporary art—its exoskeleton is a testament to its mission. Designed by Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA (Tokyo) and Gensler (New York), the stacked-box edifice is wrapped in a “seamless, anodized expanded aluminum mesh,” (per NewMuseum.org) that sets the wonder apart from its neighboring Bowery St. buildings.
The Guggenheim Museum
No “Best of” list for museums would be complete without Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. This striking structure is one of Gehry’s most famous, and it includes his signature serpentine walls made of glass and titanium that wrap around the site. With 256,000 square feet of exhibition space, this museum frequently contains some of the world’s most celebrated and large-scale modern and contemporary art exhibitions.
Need more? Visit The International Council of Museums for additional architectural eye candy at http://icom.museum/.