TOP 10 museum openings of 2013




2013 saw a number of high profile architects complete museum projects, which opened to the public. while some are completely new structures, other schemes formed extensions or renovations of existing galleries, establishing a truly diverse mix of architectural responses. museums and galleries offer places for public congregation, and consequently form important civic buildings within the urban landscape – uniting individuals, communities and cities.




danish maritime museum by BIG


TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
photo © luca santiago mora

image courtesy of BIG




BIG has completed the danish national maritime museum in helsingør, a scheme which combines existing historic elements with an innovative concept of galleries and way-finding. the project reflects denmark’s historical and contemporary role as one of the world’s leading maritime nations. a series of three double-level bridges span the dry dock, working as an urban connection, as well as providing visitors with short-cuts to different sections of the museum.






kimbell art museum expansion by renzo piano

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
photo by robert polidori

image courtesy of the kimbell art museum




a new structure, doubling the kimbell art museum‘s gallery space, has been constructed by renzo piano building workshop. setting up a dialog with louis kahn’s 1972 masterpiece, piano’s design echoes the original structure through its scale, layout and materials, with concrete, wood and glass used throughout. the colonnaded pavilion provides room for temporary exhibitions as well as classrooms and studios for the museum’s educational department.







perez art museum miami by herzog & de meuron

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013

 photo © iwan baan




‘perez art museum miami’ has opened its doors to the public, three years after the project’s groundbreaking. the scheme, completed by herzog & de meuron, serves as an extension to museum park and forms a new public space within the city. showcasing international art from the 20th and 21st centuries, the gallery also hosts a variety of educational activities and workshops.






museo jumex by david chipperfield


TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
photo by rene catalan foglia




designed by david chipperfield architects, the museo jumex in mexico city is the fundación jumex arte contemporáneo’s new exhibition platform. located in plaza carso, polanco it is home to the largest private contemporary art collection in latin america. the museum includes 1,600 square meters of exhibition space that will allow the foundation to offer expanded academic and educational programming aimed at those interested in contemporary art.






serpentine sackler gallery by zaha hadid

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
image © luke hayes, 2013




the serpentine sackler gallery designed by zaha hadid opened to the public in september. the renovation project has seen the transformation of the magazine, a former 1805 gunpowder store positioned a short 7-minute walk from the serpentine gallery, on the north side of the serpentine bridge. the serpentine’s second exhibition space in kensington gardens, the new 900 square meters expanse’s programs will include an additional gallery, restaurant and social zone and is already an important cultural destination within london.






museum of european and mediterranean civilisations (MuCEM) by rudy riccioti

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye

image courtesy of lafarge




located in the port city of marseille the museum of european and mediterranean civilization (MuCEM) opened to the public in may. the museum, the first in the world dedicated to mediterranean culture, features a pioneering exterior filigree skin of delicate pre-stressed concrete. french architect rudy ruccioti envisioned a dialogue between the light-admitting, wind-cutting concrete lace and the expansive volume of the cultural institution.






kyushu geibun kan by kengo kuma

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013

image courtesy of kengo kuma and associates



kengo kuma‘s ‘kyushu geibun kan’ creates a gateway to a museum and cultural center situated on a vast landscape in fukuoka, japan. the building is informed by traditional japanese art such as origami, seen through its many folded planes defining several courtyards and passages, while enveloping interior spaces for the creation, exhibition, and exploration of art and culture.






rijksmuseum renovation by cruz y ortiz arquitectos

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
image © pedro pegenaute
image courtesy of cruz y ortiz arquitectos




spanish firm cruz y ortiz arquitectos’ competition-winning design for the dutch treasure trove, rijksmuseum, opened in april. the 10 year architectural endeavor was complex, regarding both the technical challenges of the below-sea-level site in amsterdam and the massive conceptual task of overhauling a national institution. the mammoth project restores original architect’s plan and circulation pathways while updating the red-brick volumes with much-need light via a 24,000 square foot glass-topped atrium.






st louis art museum extension by david chipperfield

TOP 10 museum openings of 2013

photo by jacob sharp

image courtesy of saint louis art museum and architectural wall systems




designed by david chipperfield architects, the east building increases gallery and public space by 30 percent with 21 new galleries for the collection and temporary exhibitions. the inaugural exhibitions in the east building feature some 230 works from the museum’s extensive holdings of postwar german art and american art. twenty-five percent of the works have not been on view for at least 20 years. the expansion project has also enabled the renovation and re-installation of the museum’s iconic 1904 main building designed by cass gilbert.






china wood sculpture museum by MAD architects


TOP 10 museum openings of 2013
image © iwan baan
image courtesy of MAD architects




in the ever-growing city of harbin, china, MAD architects has completed the ‘china wood sculpture museum’. the 200 meter-long twisting structure is informed by the gnarled burls of wood expressed architectonically with a skin of polished steel plates. an abstraction of nature is at the conceptual center of the building which serves to house local wood sculptures as well as paintings depicting the snow-laden and icy landscape. the tedium of the urban grid is ruptured with the sinuous, light-reflecting form, while skylights split the surface of the architecture so as to wash the interiors with light from the low-hanging northern chinese sun.