The Architecture of Art Museums: A Decade of Design: 2000 - 2010, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Architecture of Art Museums

A Decade of Design: 2000 - 2010, 1st Edition

By Ronnie Self


308 pages | 378 Color Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415506526
pub: 2014-03-18
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pub: 2014-03-26
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As a building type, art museums are unparalleled for the opportunities they provide for architectural investigation and experimentation. They are frequently key components of urban revitalization and often push the limits of building technology. Art museums are places of pleasure, education and contemplation. They are remarkable by their prominence and sheer quantity, and their lessons are useful for all architects and for all building types.

This book provides explicit and comprehensive coverage of the most important museums built in the first ten years of the 21st Century in the United States and Europe. By dissecting and analyzing each case, Ronnie Self allows the reader to get under the skin of each design and fully understand the process behind these remarkable buildings. Richly designed with full technical illustrations and sections the book includes the work of Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Peter Cook & Colin Fournier, Renzo Piano, Yoshi Taniguchi, Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, SANAA, Daniel Libeskind, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Steven Holl, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Bernard Tschumi, Sauerbruch Hutton, and Shigeru Ban & Jean de Gastines. 

Together these diverse projects provide a catalogue of design solutions for the contemporary museum and a snapshot of current architectural thought and culture. One of few books on this subject written by an architect, Self’s analysis thoroughly and critically appraises each project from multiple aspects and crucially takes the reader from concept to building. This is an essential book for any professional engaged in designing a museum.


"He [Self] lucidly dissects how each of these often complicated buildings works in its context, how it is perceived and moved through by visitors, how exhibitions can be hung given the architectural strategies…how the buildings are structured and constructed, how mechanical and environmental systems operate, and how each is serviced."

-David Heymann, Cite Magazine

"The Architecture of Art Museums presents a terrific summation of the building type over the first decade of the twenty-first century and is the definitive reference work on the subject. It belongs on the shelf of any architect engaged in museum design."

--Eric Michael Wolf, Journal of Architectural Education

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth – Fort Worth, Texas 2. Contemporary Arts Center – Cincinnati, Ohio 3. Kunsthaus Graz – Graz, Austria 4. Nasher Sculpture Center – Dallas, Texas 5. The Museum of Modern Art – New York, New York 6. Walker Art Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota 7. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia – Madrid, Spain 8. de Young Museum – San Francisco, California 9. Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion – Toledo, Ohio 10. Denver Art Museum – Denver, Colorado 11. The Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston – Boston, Massachusetts 12. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Bloch Building – Kansas City, Missouri 13. Akron Art Museum – Akron, Ohio 14. New Museum – New York, New York 15. Acropolis Museum – Athens, Greece 16. Museum Brandhorst – Munich, Germany 17. Centre Pompidou-Metz – Metz, France 18. Museo Nazionale Delle Arti Del XXI Secolo – Rome, Italy Selected Bibliography Credits Index

About the Author

Ronnie Self is Associate Professor of Architecture at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston, USA. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and advanced degrees in Theories of Architecture from the École d’Architecture Paris-Villemin and Philosophy of Art from the Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is a registered architect practicing in Houston and previously worked in the Paris office of Renzo Piano Building Workshop for 12 years where, among other projects, he was the Architect in Charge of the Atelier Brancusi for the Centre Georges Pompidou. He writes regularly on recently completed projects throughout the United States for American and French magazines.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Public, Commercial & Industrial
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / General