Europe’s Must-See Museums For Architecture Lovers

Image by Finn Bjurvoll Hansen from Pixabay

Museums hold within them magnificent treasures, teaching us about art, history and science. But some museums are also wonderful to look at on the outside as well. Here is Europe’s greatest museum architecture.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain)

Opened in 1997 after only four years of construction, this museum of modern and contemporary art designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, completely transformed the city of Bilbao. This resulted in what is now known as the “Bilbao Effect,” bringing over one million visitors yearly and boosting the economy of the whole region.

The museum has hosted over a hundred exhibitions to this date and has successfully become the Basque city’s landmark. The main structure is made out of silver titanium, sandstone and glass, appearing airy and playful, with complex, ‬swirling forms that resemble different shapes from each side. Every year, it is flooded by art and architecture fans from all over the world. 

Hemisferic Museum (Valencia, Spain)

Built in 1998, as the first of eight buildings in the City of Arts and Sciences complex, The Hemisferic is a Laserium, Planetarium and IMAX cinema all in one. This remarkable building designed by Santiago Calatrava, is one of the most important modern tourist destinations in the city of Valencia.

Its iconic half-sphere shape reflects in the surrounding 24,000 square meter wide water pool, creating the illusion of the eye as a whole, which sparked the nickname “Eye of Knowledge.” The symbolism is meant to represent the observation of the world that visitors can experience by enjoying numerous audiovisual projections this place has to offer.

Kunsthaus Graz (Austria)

This museum was built in 2003, when Graz held the title of the European Capital of Culture. It was designed by architects Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, whose idea was to step away from the usual museum structure, and experiment with shape and form. This resulted in a bulbous shape with numerous skylight shafts that protrude from the top, making the building look like a giant alien heart.

Despite its strangeness and the contrast it makes with the more traditional historic architecture around it, it has become a beloved landmark of the city.