Museums are not just popular for the artefacts they house, but also for the architecture with which it is built. Some of the architecture has garnered so much popularity that it has become the primary reason why people visit it. Here, we have dealt with the 10 most beautiful museums in the world. which is simply mesmerizing at first glance.
10. Jewish Museum, Germany
The current Jewish Museum consists of three buildings and two of them are recent additions designed by Daniel Libeskind. It is the largest Jewish museum in Europe, and has been instrumental in curating Jewish history and exhibiting Jewish art. It is situated in Berlin and has a twisted zigzag design. The two new buildings designed by Libeskind does not have any connection with the old building above ground, and the new building can be accessed only via an underground passage from the old building.
Further, the three corridors encountered at the basement of the new building symbolizes three paths of Jewish life in Germany- continuity in German history, emigration from Germany, and the Shoah. Fallen leaves by Menashe Kadishman is a permanent exhibit at the museum. Menashe was paying homage to the Jews killed in the Holocaust and to all victims of violence and war. The museum has also garnered a lot of attention for facilitating virtual exhibitions using computer terminals. Eastern European immigration between 1880 and 1924 was held as a virtual exhibition.
9. Museo Soumaya, Mexico
Situated in Nuevo Polanco, the Museo Soumaya is a private museum owned by the Carlos Slim foundation headed by Billionaire business man, Carlos Slim Helu. The museum is named after Slim’s late wife- Soumaya Domit. The museum consists of two buildings, Plaza Loreto and Plaza Carso. It is considered to have the largest collection of pre-Hispanic coins in the world. Most of the art that is exhibited here is between 15th and 20th century Europe. Based on a rough estimate by the museum director, the total worth of the art it holds is over $700 million dollars.
8. Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum, France
This is a private art museum cum cultural centre sponsored by the Louis Vuitton group as an effort to foster art and culture. The museum which cost $143 million dollars for construction was opened for the public in 2014 and it was designed by famed architect, Frank Gehry. Majority of the building is inspired by the principles of landscaped gardens. Further, to actualize the design, a mammoth 3,600 glass panels and 19,000 reinforced concrete panels were moulded and configured using robots for precision. The museum mostly houses work by the Louis Vuittion group and Bernard Arnault.
7. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Austria
Kunsthistorisches means art history, and it is the name given to the largest art museum in Austria. It is situated in Vienna and it is considered to have the largest collection of Bruegel (Pieter Bruegel was known for his precarious genre) paintings in the world. Coincidentally, the museum is prepping up for celebrating the 450th death anniversary of Bruegel by exhibiting his monograph between October 2018 and November 2019. Due to the intricacy that is associated with most of the work that is exhibited here spanning from 5 millennia, it is bound to give any art lover an enchanting experience. It is not just the art that the museum houses makes the place so special, but also the architecture that was used for building it.
6. Forbidden City, China
Every country has an iconic building that it is most associated with, and Forbidden City can be considered as one for China. The complex was functional as the primary political building for the Chinese government. It was close to 500 years before it turned into a museum under the purview of the palace museum authorities. Millions of visitors flock this world heritage site every year to experience one of the most extensive collection of artwork and artefacts from multifarious Chinese dynasties. The art work that is found here has been so influential that it has been the driving factor for the emergence of multiple movies, documentaries, and TV series based on China. The museum has also been instrumental in shaping the way Chinese architecture exploded into the mainstream.
5. Denver Art Museum, US
Shortly known as DAM, it is situated in Denver, Colorado. As far as the collections are concerned, it is one of the few museums in the world that has collections of American Indian art. The museum totally comprises of the North building designed by Gio Ponti, the Duncan Pavilion, and the Frederic C Hamilton building designed by Daniel Libeskind. The objective behind building the Duncan Pavilion was to provide mechanical upgrade for the older portions of the museum and also to facilitate movement of artwork between the old and new building without the artefacts exiting the protective environment of the museum. A deconstructivist design of the Hamilton building and the usage of titanium panels sets it apart from the rest of the buildings in the museum. Due to the distinct design of the Hamilton building and the arrangement of steel for its construction, the museum received an award of recognition from the AISC in 2007.
4. The Museum Of Islamic Art, Qatar
The MIA situated in Doha, Qatar, houses artwork from over 14 centuries and it occupies a total area of 45,000 square metre. The construction was completed in 2006 by Baytur Corporation and was opened to the general public in 2008. IM Pei, the architect of the museum, ensured that a purpose-built park surrounds the periphery of the eastern and southern facades of the museum. Despite being heavily influenced by Islamic architecture, it has numerous geometric patterns adorning the ceiling. The 45,000 square metre museum sits on an artificial peninsula that overlooks the beautiful bay of Doha.
Another interesting feature of the museum is the panoramic view that is available from all the five floors. Mr. Pei ensured that the entire museum was an amalgamation of modern architecture and historical Islamic architecture. Apart from the magnificence of the museum, the one thing that is really commendable is the commitment that was poured into the project by its architecture. Pei was 91 years old and retired when the Qatar Museums approached him for this project. After being persuaded sufficiently, Pei put in close to 6 months doing spade work for the construction by travelling to Islamic sites and reading texts related to the culture.
3. Natural History Museum, London
A visit to London is not completed without paying a visit to the natural history museum located in South Kensington. It exhibits specimens and artefacts from various fragments of history. It has a whopping 80 million specimens related to botany, zoology, insect science, and palaeontology. The Natural History Museum is a safe house for dinosaur skeletons and also specimens collected by Darwin. The main hall has a statue of Charles Darwin sculpted by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm. It was known as the British Museum until 1992, and it was later on changed to the natural history museum. Richard Owen, an English Palaeontologist, is considered to be the one who corrected most of the faults that existed in the library until the 1850s and turned it into an institution for everyone rather than just for academicians.
2. Louvre, France
This list would have been incomplete without the inclusion of the world’s largest art museum. The museum is located in the banks of the Seine River. Louvre is a place that holds a lot of historic importance in the city of Paris. The museum spans to an area of 72,735 square metres housing ~38,000 specimens and artefacts. Islamic art and Egyptian antiquities are among the curatorial departments in the museum. During Napoleon’s reign, the collections increased significantly and it was also named as Musee Napoleon up until his abdication. During the 1871 Paris Commune conflict, some portions of the museum’s adjoining walls with the palace were damaged. But due to timely efforts from the firemen and the museum curator and employees, the museum could be saved with minimum damage.
1. Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Brazil
Completed in the year 1996, the museum is the Cynosure of the city of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. One of the highlights of the museum is the viewing point from where Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain can be viewed with absolute clarity. The viewing gallery also gives a panoramic view of the entire city which makes it a must visit in Rio. The museum is shaped in the form of a saucer and has been considered to epitomize the signature aesthetics of its designer-Oscar Niemeyer. It is also popularly known by the name MAC- Museu de Arte Contemporânea.