For many architects, designing a museum or gallery is a chance to flex a very special set of creative muscles that might not normally get used in day-to-day designs. Museums offer unrivalled opportunities for originality for several reasons: firstly they tend to be fairly huge, and working on a large scale means there is a lot more space to play with and manipulate; secondly, they are public spaces and need not meet the narrow taste requirements of a specific individual; and finally, they’re supposed to be creative, so it’s possible to get away with taking a lot more risks in the name of art. Perhaps due to these important factors, the world is absolutely full of stunning and innovative museums and gallery spaces. Read on for a glimpse of a handful of the most exciting…
As the name suggests, this museum is all about horses. Built on South Korea’s volcanic island, Jeju, its bold silhouette makes quite an impression seen against the spare backdrop of the surrounding landscape. If you have a soft spot for cement and brutalism, this museum would definitely be worth a visit. Shaped like a ring, with a hollow interior, visitors to the museum follow the circular path of the walls on their journey into equine history.
Sunken into the ground, the architecture of this remarkable museum plays with floors and levels, with a roof at street level and glass walls which allow copious amounts of light to enter the building despite its subterranean location.
This image shows how the interior spaces are flooded with sunlight during the day.
Seen by night and from above, the unique design of the building shows up all the more clearly, with lighting that has been carefully planned to highlight all its strange and unexpected twists and turns.
Located in Dresden, the grey colour scheme and confusingly angles doors, windows and walls of this building all help contribute to a sense of claustrophobia quite suited to a museum of military history.
The original features of the building are incorporated into the architects’ very contemporary asymmetrical designs, creating an extra layer of disorientation through the unexpected juxtaposition of old and new.
The exterior is every bit as impressive and surprising as the interior, as this image shows.
This D-Day museum, located in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, has been carefully designed for the specific purpose of housing large military objects such as the plane seen here. The effect of all that space and light is quite striking, and it would be very difficult indeed to find a more fitting home for these artefacts.
The view from the outside is every bit as special as the one from within. This bright, structured glass dome provides a startling contrast to the bare surroundings.
Light is at the heart of this concept from renowned Brazilian architect Decio Tozzi. This night-time rendering shows how the building’s exterior projections appear to slide out from the wall like drawers filled with light, while still more light emerges unexpectedly from cracks and openings in the surface. Poles of light in the courtyard provide yet more illumination.
And light is no less crucial during the day, as this image shows. Here, however, it is natural light that changes the feel of this space, making its way into the building through the carefully placed grid of windows.