Renowned architect Frank Gehry is the brains behind the iconic Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, which houses three levels of modern and contemporary art. The structure continuously plays with curves, both on the inside and out. Curved volumes and glass curtain walls connect the outside with its inner spaces. The titanium used in building, along with the design of the curves, adds to the way the building catches light. Inaugurated in 1997, the structure revolutionized the way people looked at museums and architecture.

Guggenheim Museum, Spain

Renowned architect Frank Gehry is the brains behind the iconic Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, which houses three levels of modern and contemporary art. The structure continuously plays with curves, both on the inside and out. Curved volumes and glass curtain walls connect the outside with its inner spaces. The titanium used in building, along with the design of the curves, adds to the way the building catches light. Inaugurated in 1997, the structure revolutionized the way people looked at museums and architecture.
Photograph by Gonzalo Azumendi, Getty Images

Modern marvels: museums with spectacular architecture

Visit 10 cultural spaces with stunning exteriors.

Some museums captivate visitors even before they enter. In fact, the exteriors of cultural spaces are sometimes as much of a draw as their collections. Designing a museum proves a unique architectural challenge with particular demands and constraints: the building must support optimal conditions for exhibitions and preserving artwork, adequate archival space, staff offices, and areas for the public to gather, all while complementing the structure’s mission and surrounding landscape. (Discover more of the world’s best museums.)

Here are 10 museums worth seeing for the aesthetic merits of their design, as well as for their creative content.

Fabiola Monteiro is a freelance writer based in Mumbai and former staffer of National Geographic Traveller India. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
This story was adapted from the June 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

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