Star architects from Zaha Hadid to Herzog & de Meuron have shaken up the formerly staid world of museum architecture, bringing bravura to new buildings and extensions. But the trend for new museums to opt for bold contemporary architecture goes well beyond the stunning work of Renzo Piano or Tadao Ando. Many less well-known architects have also designed remarkable places to exhibit art and artifacts.
Some have provoked controversy, like Mexican architect Teodoro González de León’s University Museum of Contemporary Art on the sprawling UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) campus. Others have been warmly welcomed, like the sweeping, light-filled Art Gallery of Ontario Extension by Toronto-born Frank O. Gehry, his first commission in his native city. Others point out new horizons for reclaiming brownfield sites and reviving derelict industrial structures: Nicholas Grimshaw’s conversion of a disused 1960s blast furnace into Horno 3, a welcoming extra gallery space for the Mexican city of Monterrey’s Museum of Steel is a case in point. In Cartagena, Spain, Rafael Moneo’s decade-long work on the Museum of the Roman Theater culminated in a structure that engages visitors in an archaeological manner, taking them on a tour of history as well as the site itself.
Here then are more than 50 projects by the major talents pushing the limits of contemporary museum design, from established