10 Modern Museums That (Nearly) Upstage the Art Inside

These ten stunning buildings will get you visiting a museum in no time.

Think museum architecture reached its apex with Frank Gehry’s Bilbao? Think again. The 21st century has so far seen such wonderful, weird buildings that are so dazzling you can forget to look at the art inside. From Farshid Moussavi’s reflective, geometric contemporary art museum in Cleveland to HOK + Beck Group’s surrealist Salvador Dali shrine, here are 10 of our favorites.

Yurihonjo City Cultural Center, Kadare
Yurihonjo City, Japan
Designed by Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture
Learn more about this project in the Architizer database.


//hapo Museum (Freedom Park)

Pretoria, South Africa

Designed by GAPP, Mashabane Rose Architects, MMA

Photo: Simon Bird via Inhabitat


MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts
Rome, Italy
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects
Photo via Iwan Baan


Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art
Cleveland, Ohio
Designed by Farshid Moussavi
Read more about this project here.


Museum of the Ocean and Surf (Cite de l’Ocean et du Surf)
Biarritz, Southern France
Designed by Steven Holl
Learn more about this project here.


Museum of Military History

Dresden, Germany

Designed by Daniel Libeskind

Photo: Hufton + Crow via Dezeen


Tel Aviv Art Museum addition
Tel Aviv, Israel
Designed by Preston Scott Cohen
Learn more about this project here.


New Museum

New York, U.S.

Designed by SANAA

Photo via New Museum Store


Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers Museum
Oudeschild, Netherlands
Designed by Mecanoo architecten
Learn more about this project in the Architizer database.


Salvador Dali Museum

St. Petersburg, Florida

Designed by HOK + Beck Group

Photo via Phaidon



The Bubble, Hirshhorn Museum

Washington, D.C.

Designed by Diller, Scofidio & Renfro

Photo via Washington City Paper

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Become a Member of a Cultural Institution. Follow along and join the conversation at and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.