Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

“Around the World” recalls seven more museums that are famous not only for their collections.

National Museum of Qatar


Opened in 2019, the National Museum of Qatar attracts tourists not only with a rich collection of exhibits, but also with an amazing appearance: the building was designed by the French architect, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel, who was inspired by a variety of minerals known as the desert rose. The exposition, located on an area of ​​1.5 km2, tells the history of Qatar and its people from ancient times to the present day.


Photo: DPA/Picture-Alliance/Legion-Media< h2>Museum of Modern Art in Niteroi


The Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi has become a place of pilgrimage for numerous travelers since its inception in 1996. They are attracted primarily by the museum building itself, designed by the famous Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, as well as stunning views of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro and Mount Pan de Azucar, opening from the local observation deck.

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Photo: Matthew Stockman/Staff/Getty Images

A structure resembling a flying saucer stands on the shore of the bay. The building is erected on a column set in the center of the reservoir, and to get inside, the visitor needs to climb a spiral ramp with a red coating (see gallery). Because of this design, guests get the feeling that the “plate” is about to take off. A collection of works by prominent representatives of Brazilian abstract art and neorealism awaits inside lovers of contemporary art.

Miho Museum


The extraordinary Miho Museum, located northeast of Kyoto, owes its existence to one of the richest women in Japan, Mihoko Koyama. Her dream was realized in the 1990s by Chinese-American architect and Pritzker Prize winner Bei Yuming, who designed the world-famous glass pyramid of the Louvre.

Miho Museum is located in a secluded area among forested mountains, and during cherry blossom its visitors seem to fall into paradise. To get inside the building, tourists have to go through a tunnel, at the end of which a bright light blinds them.

Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

The exposition of the museum is located underground. It includes not only Japanese art, but also objects from Egypt, Ancient Greece and China. The place and lighting are carefully chosen for each exhibit.

In 2018, French fashion house Louis Vuittonstaged one of his shows at the Miho Museum. The tunnel and continuing bridge leading to the museum building have been turned into a podium.

Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

Models walked onto the catwalk directly from the museum building, a relatively modest building. According to the architect's idea, the building was supposed to blend harmoniously into the surrounding untouched landscape.

Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

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Guggenheim Bilbao


Perhaps an architectural masterpiece that needs no introduction, the Spanish branch of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art is considered not only a magnificent example of deconstructivism, but also one of the most significant structures built between 1980 and 2010.

Its creator is the American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry, who not only came up with a unique design, but also harmoniously fit it into the surrounding landscape. Outside, the building is lined with thousands of titanium sheets that change color depending on the lighting and weather conditions.

Journalists have repeatedly drawn attention to the similarity of the building with a giant flower, a fantastic ship or a fish. The permanent exhibition of the museum contains works of contemporary Spanish and world art.

The Museum on the River, or MAS


This building in Antwerp is known as the Museum “an de Strom”, or the Museum on the River — Museum aan de Stroom, MAS for short. It opened in 2011 thanks to the architects Willem Jaun Neutelings and Michil Riedijk (architectural office Neutelings Riedijk). While working on the project, they were inspired by the warehouses that were located in this area of ​​the city in the 19th century.

Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

The museum is a 10-tiered tower covered with Indian red sandstone slabs, from which visitors can see the whole of Antwerp. For the exterior design, images of hands were used as decorative elements – a symbol of the city.

The museum's collection includes ethnographic and archaeological exhibits, as well as objects related to the history of navigation, religion and the colonial past of the country.

Ordos Museum of Arts and History


The Chinese Ordos was supposed to become the new cultural and economic center of Inner Mongolia, but the plans of the authorities failed: instead of a million people, only a few thousand moved to the new urban district. Be that as it may, in 2011 the construction of the museum was completed, which was supposed to combine local culture with the technologies of the future. The bureau MAD was responsible for the implementation of the project. The project was inspired by the geodesic domes of American architect Richard Fuller.

Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

Despite its unusual design, the mound-shaped building, covered with metal shutters, appealed to a few local residents. The museum's collection includes exhibits related to local history and culture.



Located in Mexico City, the Soumaya Museum was initiated by billionaire Carlos Slim, who decided to build a building to house his own art collection. The building is named after his late wife. The project of the futuristic hourglass-shaped building belongs to the architect Fernando Romero.


Photo: Kryssia Campos/Contributor/Getty Images

The museum exposition is located on six levels and includes themselves the work of not only Mexican, but also European masters. Among the exhibits are many sculptures by Rodin, paintings by Titian, as well as paintings by Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Salvador Dali.

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Fort Worth Museum of Contemporary Art


Outlandish collections: 8 museums with amazing architecture

The history of the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art began even at the end of the 19th century, but the modern building appeared only in 2002. Its creator was the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It was he who divided the space of the museum into five pavilions, reflected in the pond located here. At night, the buildings illuminated from within and their reflections seem like huge flickering lanterns.

Currently, the permanent collection of the museum has about three thousand exhibits. Among them there are both contemporary and works of art from the second half of the last century from around the world.

Material published in May 2019, partially updated in November 2022

Elena Borodina

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