Wormhole library by MAD Architects - Rendering by SAN.

24 architectural museums and cultural venues inaugurating in 2021. Wormhole library by MAD Architects – Rendering by SAN.

2021 architecture – This year, our annual list of museums expected to inaugurate within 12 months is particularly long. Due to the Covid-19 emergency, most of the museums expected to open in 2020 never made it to the public. Silverlining: that means that 2021 will be full of culture and architecture!

Discover great buildings by OMA, Renzo Piano, MVRDV, Kengo Kuma, Tadao Ando, David Chipperfield, Nlé Works and more… Archipanic’s Editor in Chief Enrico Zilli has rounded up 24 architectural museums opening in 2021.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Kengo Kuma and Associates – Odense, Denmark.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum by Kengo Kuma - Courtesy of Kengo Kuma

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma.

A series of cylindrical volumes with glass and latticed timber facades and scooped green roofs composes the upcoming Hans Christian Andersen Museum by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma in the Danish city of Odense. Themed around the writer’s popular fairy tales, the 5.600 sqm semi-submerged central pavilion will host the Tinderbox children center and be surrounded by “enchanted” gardens. Here, large trees, lawns and a circular pond are embraced by a curving box hedge. Tall hedges will also wrap sections of the building.

Neue Nationalgalerie

David Chipperfield Architects – Berlin, Germany.

Neue Nationalgalerie by David Chipperfield Architects - Photo by Thomas Bruns, courtesy of BBR.

Photo by Thomas Bruns, courtesy of BBR.

The Neue Nationalgalerie is nearing completion in the heart of Berlin’s Kulturforum cultural complex. David Chipperfield has revamped the 1968 landmark museum, originally designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. New images show the restored glass-walled main hall of the museum and some of the renovated exhibition halls below it. “The refurbishment does not represent a new interpretation, but rather a respectful repair of this landmark of the International Style,” explained at David Chipperfield Architects.

Humboldt Forum

Franco Stella – Berlin, Germany.

Humboldt Forum by Franco Stella - Photo by Christoph Musiol

Photo by Christoph Musiol.

As soon as restrictions ease, the new Humboldt Forum in the museums’ island of the German Capital will house the Ethnological Museum collections and the Museum of Asian Art. Italian architect Franco Stella has built replicas of three of the original Baroque facades, while the fourth is a modern stone facade. “I conceived the Humboldt Forum as a palace, with its six portals representing city gates, and its three inner courtyards servicing as city squares,” said Stella.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

MRDV – Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen by MVRDV - ©Ossip.


Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first fully accessible art depot, will open its doors in September 2021 in Rotterdam’s center. “The assignment was to offer a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum world and make the whole art collection accessible to the public,” explains Dutch architecture firm MVRDV. The building’s curved, mirrored façade responds to its surroundings. Located in Rotterdam’s Museumpark, the 39.5-meter tall building features exhibition halls, a rooftop garden, and a restaurant, in addition to an enormous amount of storage space for art and design.


Herzog & de Meuron – Hong Kong, China.

M+ by Herzog & de Meuron - ©Herzog & de Meuron.

©Herzog & de Meuron.

M+ is set to become one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture globally. The 60,000 square-meter cultural center overlooking Victoria Bay will be dedicated to 20th and 21st-century art, design, architecture, and the moving image. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron with TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners HK, the design comprises a semi-transparent tower housing a research center, shops and restaurants, and a horizontal slab filled with exhibition galleries. A central plaza will provide direct access to the entire exhibition area.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Renzo Piano – Los Angeles, United States.

Best 2019 upcoming museums. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles - © Renzo Piano Building Workshop and A.M.P.A.S. - Photo from L’Autre Image.

© Renzo Piano Building Workshop and A.M.P.A.S. – Photo from L’Autre Image.

When it finally opens on the famed Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictureswill be the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies and moviemaking.” The larger portion of the museum designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop will take in the 1930s May Company Building, which is being renovated and upgraded to hold the bulk of exhibition spaces. A new spherical addition will accommodate a 1,000-seat theatre and a dome-covered terrace with Hollywood Hills’ views.

Pinault Collection

Tadao Ando – Paris, France.

La Bourse de Commerce de Paris/Pinault Collection by Tadao Ando - Photo by Patrick Tourneboeuf.

Photo by Patrick Tourneboeuf.

In Paris, Japanese architect Tadao Ando has restored the Bourse de Commerce – the city’s former stock exchange – and transformed it into a hotly anticipated museum hosting the collections of French billionaire François Pinault. The building features seven galleries and “a fair-faced concrete cylinder inserted in a neoclassical cylinder” in the building’s grand central hall. Here, a suspended brutalist walkway allows visitors to admire the 19th-century internal façade as well as the frescos and the cupola above.

Grand Egyptian Museum

Henegan Peng Architects – Giza-Cairo, Egypt.

King Ramses @ The Grand Egyptian Museum - Photo via IG by @littlebitofhistory

King Ramses @ The Grand Egyptian Museum – Photo via IG by @littlebitofhistory.

The long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum by Henegan Peng Architects will finally open to the public in 2020. Located at the edge of the first desert plateau between the pyramids and Cairo, the massive museum features a 24,000 square meter permanent exhibition space hosting the Tutankhamen collection, a children’s museum, conference center, conservation center and gardens. The building’s façade features a giant triangular pattern and stretches on a 50m level slope, recalling the difference in height created as the Nile carves its way through the desert. A front surface defined by a veil of translucent stone will transform from day to night.

Pudong Museum of Art

Ateliers Jean Nouvel – Shanghai, China.

Pudong Art Museum by Ateliers Jean Nouvel - Image by Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Image by Ateliers Jean Nouvel.

The Jean Nouvel-designed Pudong Museum of Art is planned to open beside Shanghai’s landmark Oriental Pearl TV tower facing the Bund. The project stands as a monochromatic gesture in the Shanghai skyline. A 7-floor structure, the Museum will become a multi-use complex for the arts, with 54,000 m² of habitable space. Designed as a composition of geometric volumes inspired by the Suprematist Art Movement and clad externally in white granite, the building is by substance a solid figure amongst the buildings in Shanghai’s iconic skyline.

Luma Arles Arts Resource Centre

Gehry Partners – Arles, France.

Luma Arles tower by Frank O Gehry - © Atelier Vincent Hecht.

© Atelier Vincent Hecht.

The centerpiece of Luma Arles is the Arts Resource Centre designed by American architect Frank Gehry, scheduled to open in spring 2021. Located on a former rail yard, the aluminum-clad tower will house archives, exhibition and presentation spaces, seminar rooms, and a café and restaurant.

Le Mémorial des Maryrs

Adjaye Associates – Niamey, Niger.

Memorial des Martyrs by Adjaye Associates - image by Adjaye Associates

Image by Adjaye Associates.

British architecture studio Adjaye Associates is set to complete Le Mémorial des Martyrs – the memorial of martyrs – in the city hall of Niamey, the capital of Niger. The memorial commemorates “all those who lost in the fight against terrorism along the country’s southern and western borders,” said the studio. A grid of 56 concrete, four-pointed-star-shaped columns will rise 20 meters into the air from a raised plaza.

House of Hungarian Music

Sou Fujimoto – Budapest, Hungary.

House of Hungarian Music by Sou Fujimoto - courtesy of © Varosliget Zrt

© Varosliget Zrt.

As part of Europe’s largest cultural urban development, the Liget Project, comprising five new museums in Budapest, the House of Hungarian Music features a distinctive floating roof inspired by sound waves, under which sits a building “seamlessly blending into nature as a continuation of the park itself,” explains Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. The roof is perforated with lightwells to create a natural, illuminated interior further lit by a wrapped glazed façade. The scheme’s light, open, airy interior and program are inspired by the motto of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, – “Let music belong to everyone!

Wormhole Library

MAD Architects – Haikou, China.

Wormhole library by MAD Architects - Rendering by SAN.

Rendering by SAN.

Chinese architecture studio MAD Architects is set to inaugurate the sensuously curved multi-functional Wormhole Library in the Chinese city of Haikou. Intended “to be a wormhole that transcends time and space,” the building serves as a place to read, enjoy views of the sea, and attend open-air performances. The organic concrete structure is punctured, creating voids of varying sizes that let the light into the interiors. The building is topped with a rooftop terrace with views of the South China Sea, while a reflecting pool and white-sand filled area will be built on either side of it.

Floating Music Hub

Nlé Works – São Vincente, Cape Verde.

Floating Music Hub by Nle Works - Courtesy of Nle Works

Courtesy of Nlé Works.

Dutch-Nigerian Studio Nlé Works is set to complete the Floating Music Hub in Capo Verde. Located in the beautiful bay of Mindelo, the cultural and creative platform is the studio’s ultimate triangular building, made out of a prefabricated, modular, floating A-frame. “The floating structure aims to become a cultural and creative platform to promote music, dance, art, fashion and other creative industries in Africa and the African diaspora.

Kunsthaus Zürich extension

David Chipperfield Architects – Zurich, Switzerland.

Kunsthaus Zürich by David Chipperfield Architects - Photo by David Chipperfield Architects.

Photo by David Chipperfield Architects.

After twelve years of planning and construction, the extension to the Kunsthaus Zürich is now complete. The largest art museum in Switzerland will open to the public in October 2021. Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the new freestanding museum building faces the original Kunsthaus across Heimplatz. Together the two buildings define this urban square and are connected by an underground passageway. A central hall spans the extension building’s full length, creating a link between Heimplatz and a new Garden of Art to the north.

GES-2 by Renzo Piano

Moscow, Russia.

Top 10 Museum inaugurating in 2020- GES-2 by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Moscow, Russia - Image: courtesy of V-A-C Foundation.

Courtesy of V-A-C Foundation.

When thinking about what kind of building would be perfect to create a space for contemporary culture, a power station comes to mind immediately!” Says Italian architect Renzo Piano. The studio has transformed a 1908 power plant into GES-2, a public space for visual and performing arts in Moscow.  The enormous 20,000 sqm new art center was commissioned by the V-A-C Foundation by billionaire Leonid Mikhelson on the Red October island near the Kremlin. The complex will host an artist residency block, amphitheater, education center and library. Artists in the V-A-C collection include Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool.

Sunac Guangzhou Grand Theatre

Steven Chilton Architects – Guangzhou, China.

Sunac Guangzhou Grand by Steven Chilton Architects - Photo by Chong‐Art Photography

Photo by Chong‐Art Photography.

Inspired by the physicality of silk cloth, Steven Chilton Architects gently folds the outer envelope of the 2000 seat purpose‐built Sunac Guangzhou Grand Theatre. The Chinese metropolis is the birthplace of the ‘Silk Road on the Sea.’ Illustrations by artist Zhang Hongfei were digitized and mapped onto the aluminum skin. The cladding comprises thousands of perforated aluminum panels, each painted with a unique portion of the overall composition. They are supported by a complex structure of welded steel tubes that work interdependently with the concrete superstructure supporting the theatre floors.

Datong Art Museum

Foster+Partners – Datong, China.

Datong Art Museum - Render by Foster+Partners.

Image by Foster+Partners.

Finally, the 32,000 sqm Museum of the 21st Century by Foster+Partners is expected to be completed in Datong, China. Conceived as an erupted landscape, the entire building is sunk into the ground with only the roof peaks visible at ground level. The roof is clad in earth-toned Corten steel, which will weather naturally over time. Visitors approach via a gentle ramp and stair integrated with the sunken plaza to create an informal amphitheater. The arrival sequence culminates in a dramatic overview of the Grand Gallery.

Munch Museum

Estudio Herreros – Oslo, Norway.

Munch Museum - Photo by Tove Lauluten.

Munch Museum – Photo by Tove Lauluten.

This spring, 1,150 paintings and more than 18,000 prints by infamous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch will move to the brand-new Munch Museum in Oslo’s Bjørvika waterside area. With 13 floors and 11 exhibition halls, the 26,000 sq. m building designed by Estudio Herreros will be one of the world’s largest single-artist museums.

The vertical museum design connects the public, recreational and commercial spaces from the lobby to the rooftop offering in parallel the discovery of the work of Munch and the different historical strata of the city.” The facades are finished in perforated aluminum with different degrees of transparency to an enigmatic and evanescent perception.

Museum of the Future

KillaDesign – Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Museum of the Future by KillaDesign - Courtesy of ©KillaDesign.


On the occasion of the Dubai World Expo, the long-awaited Museum of the Future by Shaun Killa adjacent to the Emirates Towers will inaugurate to the public. The 30,000 square meters and 77m high building is shaped like an eye with a hollowed-out middle. Window designs, in the form of Arabic calligraphy, based on the Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed’s quotes, are intricately 3D mapped onto the curved skin.

Expansion of Philadelphia Museum

Frank O. Ghery – Philadelphia, United States.

Photo by Tim Tiebout, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Photo by Tim Tiebout, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The next major phase of the Philadelphia Museum of Art‘s redevelopment masterplan, overseen by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank O. Gehry, is due to be unveiled later this year, radically transforming the Neo-Classical building that opened in 1928. “By the end of the core project in 2020, we will bring you 90,000 sq. feet [8,400 sq. m] of new galleries and public spaces,” says the museum’s director, Timothy Rub. Eight galleries will be dedicated to “a more inclusive, expansive story of American art,” according to the museum’s curators.

Planet Word Museum

Local Projects – Washington DC, United States.

Planet Word Museum - Courtesy of Planet Word Museum

Courtesy of Planet Word Museum.

On October 22, the Planet Word Museum will invite visitors of all ages to an immersive language experience at the historic Franklin School. The world’s first voice-activated museum feature interactive galleries and exhibits bring words and language to life in all sorts of fun ways. Design firm Local Projects used technology in imaginative, ingenious ways to reimagine the modern museum experience. On show a karaoke lounge where music lovers will learn secrets of great songwriting and a 22-foot-tall talking word wall sharing the English language’s story through a conversation with visitors and extraordinary light effects.

Taipei Performing Arts Centre

OMA – Taipei, Taiwan.

Taipei Performing Art Center OMA - Photo © Chris Stowers.

Photo © Chris Stowers.

The Taipei Performing Arts Centre, TPAC, by Rem Koolhaas – OMA will inaugurate a theatre complex in the Taiwanese capital. The new cultural venue will host three auditoriums, including a 1,500-seat grand theatre and a pair of 800-seat playhouses, one of which will be contained inside a huge sphere.

Aviici Experience @ SPACE

Various – Stockholm, Sweden.

Aviici Experience

Courtesy of Aviici Experience.

Avicii Experience is an intensively emotional tribute museum to one of the true icons of modern popular culture: Tim Bergling, a.k.a. Aviici, one of the most influential producers, performers and songwriters of our time who passed away in 2018 aged 28. Avicii Experience is a part of SPACE, a new and unique concept combining gaming, music, and content creation, the key ingredients of digital culture, all under one roof. SPACE is set to open in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2021.