Three Bold Museums Following in the Tradition of the Guggenheim Bilbao

Ever since Frank Gehry attracted the world’s attention to Bilbao, Spain with the swooping curves of his design for the city’s Guggenheim museum, galleries with dreams of wooing international tourists to under-the-radar cities have made a habit of enlisting edgy architects to dream up ever-more-radical concepts. Here are three flashy new museums that now have us planing a global gallery hopping trip this spring.


Bordeaux, France

Photo by Laurian Ghinitoiu

Designed by architecture firms BIG and FREAKS, this new cultural hub is appropriately large and eccentric. A long ramp leads to an angular concrete gallery with a passageway carved through the middle. Holding court in this public plaza is Benoît Maire’s giant bronze bust of Hermes, severed in half in a nod to the void that forms its surroundings. As we said: big and freaky.



Berlin, Germany

Okay, so Berlin isn’t exactly an under-the-radar city. We made an exception here. The latest addition to the “Museum Island” cluster of cultural institutions along the River Spree arrives courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects. But there’s still a curveball: the building doesn’t actually contain any art — instead, it acts as a giant welcome pavilion for visitors to other nearby galleries, with a long colonnade introducing a café and a peaceful new lookout to the city. Because urban life is the real art.


Bauhaus Museum

Dessau, Germany

Photo by Hartmut Boesener

A century in the making, this museum spotlights furniture, ceramics, and textiles produced by members of Germany’s Bauhaus school, founded in 1919. In keeping with the pure design principles taught by the influential institution, the building’s designers, Barcelona’s Addenda Architects, have designed a simple black volume that appears to float inside a steel-framed glass box.