Incredible Façades: Museums Unveiled in 2018

North America | United Kingdom
V&A Dundee Exterior
Launch Slideshow

The year 2018 marked a fruitful period for the museum sector in North America and the United Kingdom, especially when considering the myriad of institutions that opened or reopened following extensive renovations. Their architectural and design developments range in scale, from the Hayward Gallery's redesign that emphasizes the Brutalist building's skylights, to the Glenstone Museum's construction of a vast, partially underground complex devoted to contemporary art. No matter how large or small the expansions have been, all museums listed above are marvels of contemporary design. In this slideshow, preview the unveiled buildings.

Incredible Façades: Museums Unveiled in 2018

  • V&A | Dundee
    The V&A Dundee opened on September 15, 2018 as Scotland's first design museum and only branch of the V&A outside of its world-renowned London location. The intricate building, designed by Kengo Kuma to resemble a Scottish cliff face, sits on the River Tay waterfront and holds 1,650 m² of gallery space, all of which is devoted to design exhibitions, workshops, commissions, and programming.


    V&A Dundee Exterior. © Hufton + Crow.
  • The Menil Collection's Drawing Institute | Houston
    The Menil Collection's Drawing Institute opened on the 3rd of November 2018. Although the institute has existed since 2008, the new building marks the first time that it has a dedicated home. The monumental 30,146 ft2 space, designed by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, is dedicated to exhibitions of drawings and the Institute's scholarly work. The Institute's first exhibition is a highly acclaimed display of drawings by leading American artist Jasper Johns. The exhibition is connected to a vast project recently completed by the Institute: the production of the six-volume catalogue raisonné of Johns' drawings. The show is on view until 27 January 2019.

    Photo by Richard Barnes, courtesy of the Menil Collection.
  • Nordic Museum | Seattle
    Seattle's Nordic Museum opened in a stunning new building on October 5th, 2018. The expansive, airy space will help the museum to fulfill its mission to "share Nordic culture with people of all ages and backgrounds by exhibiting art and objects, preserving collections, providing educational and cultural experiences, and serving as a community gathering place." Permanent and temporary exhibitions are on display, which explore themes like Nordic immigration to the US, Vikings in early Scandinavia, and contemporary Danish artists.

    Image courtesy of the Nordic Museum.
  • Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU | Richmond
    The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA VCU) opened to the public on April 21st, 2018. The striking space will hold exhibitions of contemporary art, while serving the university to further support its well-regarded arts programs. Exhibitions on view include a survey of five international artists' oeuvres, exploring "nature and culture, bodies and spaces." The Institute additionally holds events open to the public.

    Photo by Iwan Baan. Image courtesy of Arch Daily.
  • Glenstone Museum | Potomac
    On October 4th, 2018, the Glenstone Museum reopened in its extraordinarily modern building, nestled on a hilltop in Potomac, Maryland. Forests encircle the grounds, providing a peaceful, natural environment for museumgoers to enjoy impressive, contemporary art. Already on display is an exhibition of works on paper by Louise Bourgeois, as well as pieces by artists Martin Puryear, On Kawara, Michael Heizer and Pipilotti Rist. Beyond the art that is on display, the Glenstone also has 230 acres of land marked by outdoor sculptures; visitors are invited to explore the surrounding forest trails and streams.

    Photo by Iwan Baan. Image courtesy of the Glenstone Museum.
  • Hayward Gallery | London
    The Hayward Gallery reopened on January 25th, 2018, following extensive renovations. The building is an icon of Brutalist architecture, a style that flourished from the 1950s until the 1970s, most identifiable for its concrete buildings structured to repeat geometric patterns. The renovations focused on utilizing the building's many skylights as effectively as possible; light from them now streams down into the exhibition spaces, helping to make the sharp building's style welcoming. The museum's current exhibition, closing during the first week of January 2019, is the popular Space Shifters , a display of works that "explore perception and space".

    David Batchelor, detail of Sixty Minute Spectrum, 2017. Photo by Morley Von Sternberg.
  • The Minnesota Museum of American Art | St. Paul
    The Minnesota Museum of American Art (the MJAA) launched on December 2nd, 2018 subsequent to the building's complete reconstruction. The museum only established an exhibition space in 2009, enabling it to display items from its collection that previously were kept in storage. The renovations ensure that the M, St. Paul's only art museum, can provide the city with the best possible experience of its collection, its exhibitions and other programming.

    Facade of the Minnesota Museum of Art. Rendering courtesy of MJAA.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art | Toronto
    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto (MOCA Toronto) opened its doors on September 22, 2018. The museum, formerly known as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), is now housed in a 55,000 ft2 former industrial building that has been redesigned to integrate its diverse collection. The first floor will be a "free place for the community to gather", the inaugural exhibition BELIEVE will be divided between floors two and three, and half of floor four will be dedicated to Art in Use, a project conceived in dialogue with Tania Bruguera and the Association of Useful Art.

    Photo by Ben Rahn/A-Frame. Image courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto
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