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Museum Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

The Transformation of the Museum: From Curiosity Room to Exhibition

Housing objects of artistic, cultural, historical and scientific importance, the term ‘museum’ is derived from the Latin language. In regards to classical antiquity, in Ancient Greek ‘mouseion’, meaning ‘set of muses’ was a philosophical institution, a place for contemplation and thought. These muses refer to the 9 muses in Greek mythology, the goddesses of the arts and sciences, and patrons of knowledge. Early museums’ origins stem from private collections of wealthy families, individuals or institutions, displayed in ‘cabinets of curiosities’ and often temples and places of worship. Yet these ‘collections’ are predecessors of the modern museum, they did not seek to rationally categorize and exhibit their collections like the exhibitions we see today.

In definition, the modern museum is either a building or institution that cares for or displays a collection of numerous artifacts of cultural, historical, scientific or artistic importance. Through both permanent and temporary exhibits, most public museums make these artifacts available for viewing and often seek to conserve and document their collection, to serve both research and the general public. In essence, museums house collections of significance, whether these be on a small or large scale.

Ashmolean Museum / Oxford . Image Courtesy of Lewis Clarke / Wikicommons CC BY-SA 2.0Shanghai Astronomy Museum / China . Image © ArchExistsThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / New York . Image © Laurian GhinitoiuA Cabinet Painted by Frans II Francken / 1636. Image Courtesy of Wikicommons+ 11

Mecanoo Designs Natural History Museum in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi unveiled plans for a Natural History Museum designed by Dutch practice Mecanoo. The project resembles natural rock formations, and geometric shapes are present across all design elements, accompanied by the presence of water and vegetation. The 35,000 square-meter venue will feature gallery display areas, temporary exhibition spaces and theatre spaces, as well as an innovative research facility for the study of zoology, palaeontology, marine biology, molecular research and earth sciences. The new institution is intended as a space for education and, at the same time, as a think-tank for future innovation in these respective fields.

The Architecture of Museums: The Evolution of Curatorial Spaces

Across the globe, museums function as cultural landmarks – spaces of significance that quite often become defining symbols of a city’s architectural landscape. Historical examples such as the Museum de Fundatie in the Netherlands and The Louvre Museum in France continue to attract millions of visitors, with contemporary architectural interventions to them redefining their spatial contribution to their local context.

Sonorous Museum - Copenhagen. Image © Laura StamerSonorous Museum - Copenhagen. Image © Laura StamerNational Portrait Gallery - Augmented Reality. Image © Art of LondonSonorous Museum - Copenhagen. Image © Laura Stamer+ 12

Fotografiska Announces Three New Locations in Berlin, Shanghai and Miami, Becoming the Largest Private Art Museum

Fotografiska Berlin by Herzog & De Meuron. Image © bloomimages
Fotografiska Berlin by Herzog & De Meuron. Image © bloomimages

Fotografiska Museum has announced its expansion to three new locations in Berlin, Shanghai and Miami, to be housed within existing buildings redesigned by Herzog & De Meuron, Neri&Hu and Rockwell Group. A former department store in Berlin's Jewish Quarter, a 1946 factory building in Miami and a historically significant warehouse complex in Shanghai are the future Fotografiska venues set for completion in 2022 and 2023. Together with the existing locations in Stockholm, Tallin and New York, these will form the world's largest private art museum in terms of size, number of locations, and exhibitions per year.

Fotografiska Miami  by Rockwell Group. Image Courtesy of FotografiskaFotografiska Shanghai by Neri&Hu. Image Courtesy of FotografiskaFotografiska Miami  by Rockwell Group. Image Courtesy of FotografiskaFotografiska Berlin by Herzog & De Meuron. Image © bloomimages+ 8

The New Kremlin Museum Nestles a Contemporary Design Within a Historic Monument

The new Kremlin museum set within the UNESCO protected museum ensemble in Red Square nestles a contemporary structure within the vast courtyard of a 19th-century building. Designed by Moscow-based practices NOWADAYS office and Meganom, the project will house the vast Armory collection, of which only 30% is currently available to the public with the Kremlin walls. The refurbishment of the historic Middle Trading Rows building, together with the new extension, complement each other, creating a diverse and complex museum experience.

Courtesy of NOWADAYS officeCourtesy of NOWADAYS officeCourtesy of NOWADAYS officeCourtesy of NOWADAYS office+ 13

What Exactly is the Art Museum in Modern Times?

"Is a museum defined by its collection? Or by its architecture? In The Art Museum in Modern Times, Charles Saumarez Smith suggests it is both and still something more". Lauren McQuistion, an architectural designer and Ph.D. Candidate in the Constructed Environment at the University of Virginia School of Architecture discusses in her Architect's Newspaper piece, Saumarez's book, exploring the notion of a modern museum.

Karres en Brands to Design Norway’s National Logging Museum

Landscape and design office Karres en Brands has won the international competition to design Norway’s National Logging Museum. Selected out of 136 submissions, the team's winning proposal was chosen by the jury and the Commission of Museums in Akershus for building connections to the regional wetlands and local history. Sited on Northern Europe's largest inland delta, the new museum will focus on Norway's cultural and natural heritage.

Courtesy of VividVisionCourtesy of VividVisionCourtesy of VividVisionCourtesy of Karres en Brands+ 16

Turin's Castello di Rivoli Tells a Story of the Region's History through Its Architecture

Castello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Castello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Given the sheer magnitude and influence of its recorded history, Italy as we know it is a surprisingly young country. For centuries, the region was divided between powerful (and sometimes warring) city-states, each with their own identity, culture, and, fortunes, and influence. Some are eternally famous. Rome is a cradle of history and heart of religion; cool Milan is a hub of contemporary fashion and design; Florence is synonymous with the Renaissance and all the epoch’s relationship to the arts.

Turin’s history is arguably less romantic. The small city in Savoy, a north-Italian region bordering France, has established an identity as an industrial powerhouse. It is home to FIAT and some of Italy’s finest universities; the streets are dotted with works by Nervi, Botta, and Rossi. But despite the design pedigree, perhaps nothing better illustrates the region’s faceted history better than Castello di Rivoli.

Castello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian GhinitoiuCastello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian GhinitoiuCastello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian GhinitoiuCastello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu+ 21

MORE Architecture Designs Village-Inspired Art Museum Ginkgo Gallery

Reacting to the influx of gargantuan, iconic museum buildings produced by China’s recent “museum boom,” MORE Architecture aimed to create an intricate, experiential space with their design for Ginkgo Gallery. The gallery, construction on which has now begun, was conceived as a humble merging of art and nature, part of a network of private museums in the Yangtze River Delta. Ginkgo Gallery also houses an auditorium and workshop space in an effort to make art a part of public life and educate children in contemporary art.

Bird's eye. Image © MORE ArchitectureSection. Image © MORE ArchitectureInterior. Image © MORE ArchitectureGallery model. Image © MORE Architecture+ 13

ADEPT Wins Competition to Design New City Museum for Berlin

Danish architecture firm ADEPT has been announced the winner of a competition to redevelop Berlin's Marinehaus as part of the city's Stadtmuseum group. This iteration of the competition was launched in 2018 (following a similar competition ten years ago) and will rehabilitate the Marinehaus for public use after nearly 20 years of closure.