Museum Design and Architecture Guide
from C.H.I.P.S.

Museum Builders I I
by Laura Hourston

With the recent explosion in cultural tourism, museums have been proliferating at an unprecedented rate. Certain fundamental concerns have remained as constant factors in the museum’s story; most notably here, its role as a significant site for the construction and depiction of identity.


  • Contains 27 contemporary museum commissions

  • Detailed floor plans and sketches

  • Over 328 illustrations, mostly in color

  • Includes brief background information
    for each museum

Museum Builders II explores 27 contemporary museum commissions, which both demonstrate and generate aspects of identity, be they national, ethnic, regional, civic, or personal. The dialogue of ‘identity and difference’ finds many and varied architectural expressions in the contemporary museum buildings highlighted, which are drawn from across the globe. The projects vary dramatically in scale, context, thematics and intent, but all raise questions of architectural representation.

Many museum architects have turned to the natural landscape for inspiration, often for aesthetic or pragmatic reasons, but at times to invest their buildings with a specific identity. Similarly, rich archaeological and architectural caches have been plundered by designers in a quest to give identity to their built form. Several featured museum projects address the meeting of cultures, which were defining moments in history, and these encounters have left a tenacious legacy on the architecture and exhibitions of those museums.

Most resonant here is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: a deeply poignant physical monument to one of the most horrifying and inhumane encounters in human history, and a most extreme example of the museum’s lasting role in the construction and depiction of identities.

Museum Builders II is a valuable planning and design resource to guide architectural professionals in creating functional buildings for the preservation of history for future generations.


  1. National Museums
    • Museum of Scotland
      Benson + Forsyth, 1998
    • Canadian Museum of Civilization
      Douglas Cardinal TSE, 1989
    • Te Papa Tongarewa the National Museum of New Zealand
      Jasmax Group, 1999

  2. Thematic Museums
    • Imperial War Museum North
      Daniel Libeskind, 2002
    • Jewish Museum
      Daniel Libeskind, 1997
    • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
      Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, 1993
    • Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum
      Tadao Ando, 1994
    • Vulcania: The European Centre of Volcanism
      Hans Hollein, 2000
    • Domus, Home of Man
      Arata Isozaki and Cesar Portela, 1995
    • National Maritime Museum Cornwall
      Long & Kentish, 2002
    • Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum
      Kisho Kurokawa and Associates, 2002

  3. Art Museums: New Build
    • Kunsthal Rotterdam
      Rem Koolhaas, 1992
    • Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art
      Jean Nouvel, 1994
    • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
      Mario Botta, 1995
    • Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art
      Kleihues + Kleihues, 1996
    • Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
      Frank Gehry, 1997
    • Stockholm Museum of Modern Art
      Rafael Moneo, 1998
    • Galician Centre for Contemporary Art
      Alvaro Siza, 1997
    • Serralves Museum
      Alvaro Siza, 1999
    • Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
      Yoshio Taniguchi, 1995
    • Fukui City Museum of Art
      Kisho Kurokawa, 1996
    • Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art
      Zaha Hadid, 2003
    • National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Rome
      Zaha Hadid, 2001–
    • Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto
      Mario Botti and Guilio Andreolli, 2002

  4. Extensions
    • Spiral Extension to the Victoria & Albert Museum
      Daniel Libeskind, 1996-

  5. Adaptive Reuse
    • P.S.1 Museum
      Frederick Fisher, 1997
    • Las Vegas Guggenheim and Guggenheim Hermitage Museums
      Rem Koolhaas
    • Tate Modern
      Herzog and De Meuron, 1999
    • Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
      Ellis Williams, 2001

Project Information

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Museum Builders II
by Laura Hourston
216 pages • $134.00 + shipping
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