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To say that 2020 was atypical is certainly the understatement of the century. It forced us to reinvent how we live our everyday lives, and even how we celebrate design. Yet, this year, top museums and art galleries all over the globe still rose to the occasion, and deserve a spot on our list of 10 Top Museums and Art Galleries.
Humao Museum of Art and Education, China, by Álvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira
The windowless Humao Museum of Art and Education was developed by Álvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira to evoke a mysterious floating object on the banks of Dongqian Lake in Ningbo. Its corrugated-metal walls cloak unexpectedly bright and spacious interiors that include white-walled art galleries and a full-height atrium that is enveloped by a maze of ramps.
Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, Switzerland, by BIG
Curved glass walls that spiral up and out of the landscape enclose this top museum and workshop that BIG designed for watchmaker Audemars Piguet in the Vallée de Joux. Crowned by a green roof, the winding walls converge in a clockwise direction and are designed to give visitors the feeling that they are meandering through the spring of a watch when inside.
Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, USA, by Steven Holl Architects
Cloud formations influenced Steven Holl Architects’ wavy roofscape design for the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, which was built as part of an overhaul of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston campus. The roof meets with translucent glass tubes that are stacked vertically all around the top museum and emit a soft glow at night – intended to set it apart from its surroundings.
He Art Museum, China, by Tadao Ando
A pair of helical staircases sweep around the skylit atrium at the heart of the He Art Museum, which Tadao Ando completed in Guangdong, China, earlier this year. Externally, the top museum resembles a stack of staggered concrete disks, enclosed by a vertically slatted facade that gently filters light into the gallery spaces. Light is also drawn in through a large oculus in the atrium, designed by Ando to mimic the ethereal use of light in churches.
Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Netherlands, by MVRDV
Over 1,600 reflective glass panels enshroud the bowl-shaped Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, used by MVRDV to help the building blend in with its surroundings in Rotterdam’s Museumpark. It contains a mix of storage spaces and areas for art maintenance that will open to the public next year, making it the first publicly accessible art depot in the world. According to MVRDV, the goal is to offer a “new type of experience” for museum-goers.
US Olympic and Paralympic Museum, USA, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Four angular volumes that are covered in diamond-shaped panels and arranged in a pinwheel formation make up the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado. It is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro to be highly accessible and features a spiralling ramp at its heart that offers access to all of the galleries. Smooth floors suited to wheelchairs also feature throughout, alongside benches with guards for canes and moveable cafe seating.
Phoenix Central Park, Australia, by Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects
Sydney’s Phoenix Central Park galleries take the form of a stack of irregular boxes crafted from concrete and are unified with a timber-lined auditorium via an undulating facade of long pale bricks.
MuseumLab, USA, by KoningEizenberg Architecture
KoningEizenberg Architecture overhauled an old, damaged library in Pittsburgh that had been struck by lightning to create this children’s top museum. The building’s original worn-looking walls, brickwork and columns have been preserved to celebrate is history, and in areas, they are married with contemporary additions such as a white-mesh staircase and elevated walkway.
Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Museum, China, by Studio Zhu-Pei
Vaulted red-brick galleries and courtyards that are sunken below ground define the Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Museum in China. Crafted by hand, the sweeping galleries are intended to evoke a collection of traditional brick kilns and pay homage to the museum’s setting in Jingdezhen, a city known as the world’s “porcelain capital”.
Plantel Matilde, Mexico, by Arcadio Marín
Pools of water and artwork sit between the open arcades and monolithic, concrete walls of Plantel Matilde, the gallery and studio of Mexican sculptor Javier Marín that was drawn up by his brother, Arcadio. Located on a former agave field in the Yucatan jungle, the building takes cues from the sculptor’s works, as well as church cloisters and traditional hacienda courtyards.
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