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Jeanine Brito

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Feb 24 2022

5 art museums to visit if you love architecture

  1. Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

Photo by Iwan Baan

It’s not that you need a particular reason to book a ticket to the City of Lights, but visiting this art and culture centre might be a very good one. Designed by a legendary American architect Frank Gehry, Fondation Louis Vuitton is a prime example of Deconstructivism, a movement in contemporary architecture that favours fragmentation over symmetry. Watch out for site-specific installations by the major names in contemporary art that drew inspiration from the building’s sculptural shape.

2. Museo del Novecento in Milan

Photo by Ewa Wilkos

Fans of the 20th century Italian art and architecture will be delighted with this museum, which is conveniently located right next to Milan’s main landmark, the Duomo cathedral. The spiral staircase leads to the galleries exhibiting over 400 works by (mostly) Italian artists. The architecture of the building is a mix of styles too, from the original Palazzo dell'Arengario built in the Fascist era to the 21st century renovation by Italo Rota. Pro tip: get to the top level with Lucio Fontana’s Neon and enjoy the majestic view over the Cathedral Square.

3. Naoshima Art Island in Japan

photo by @benesse-artiste

Naoshima is a miniature island off the southern coast of Japan, a home to many museums, galleries and art installations founded by the Benesse Corporation back in the 1980s. Since then Naoshima has become a mecca for contemporary art lovers visiting Japan. What attracts visitors is also its stunning architecture designed by famous Japanese architects, most notably Tadao Ando. Visit Chichu Art Museum to see how well his signature concrete minimalism blends with the artworks on display.

4. Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku


photo by Helene Binet

The Heydar Aliyev Center in the capital of Azerbaijan is one the last projects by the late Zaha Hadid, which many consider to be the most accomplished example of her style. The white, futuristic looking building, completed in 2013, hosts an auditorium, a conference center and an exhibition space. The wave-like, fluid form makes it a perfect venue for contemporary art, both temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection, where you can admire masterpieces by Yayoi Kusama and Anish Kapoor.

5. Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Brazil

photo by Anna Zsofia Kormos

One of the favourite projects of Oscar Niemeyer, this UFO-like structure captures the essence of legendary architect’s aesthetic. Actually, the iconic museum, which opened its doors in 1996, was designed to resemble a flower rising from the ground and facing the waterfront. Either way, it’s a very imaginative packaging for a collection of contemporary Brazilian art with a bonus of magnificent views of Rio de Janeiro.