• The Broad Museum, Los Angeles © Iwan Baan

  • Musée Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York © Stine Merete

  • Benesse House Museum, Japon © Iwan Baan

  • La Pyramide d'Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire © Iwan Baan

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Inspired by the impact of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim on Bilbao’s development, every city now dreams of having its own museum and projects are springing up all around the world. The UNESCO estimated that the number of museums in the world increased from 22,000 in 1975 to 55,000 today. In its 415th issue, out on October 28th, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui explores the various ambitions of these architectural works that we admire for their “shell” as much as for their collections.


Beaubourg in Paris is the symbol of a museum long criticised before being admired for both its cultural programme and its architecture. From an article published in AA’s 189th issue (February 1977), French sociologist Jean-Louis Violeau looks back at a 40-year-old controversy sparkled by “Notre-dame of the pipes.” Catherine Sabbah’s investigation focuses on the rise of private players in the cultural fields. Officials are increasingly relying on these patrons to fund new “temples” of culture that have nothing to envy to national museums.

With 3,500 museums today while there were only 25 in 1949, China is experiencing a real “Museum mania”! Jean-Philippe Hugron analyses the motivations and challenges behind this race to build cultural facilities.

From the Benesse Art Site Naoshima (Japan), to the Soulages museum by RCR Arquitectes + Passelac & Roques in Rodez (France), or the Museo Internacional Del Barroco in Puebla (Mexico) by Toyo Ito & Associates, the selection of projects presented in this issue explores the multiple ambitions of this new generation of museums.

If the cultural landscape manages to renew itself, it also has to face the challenge set by many contemporary artists: knocking down walls. In “Prospective” Valérie de Saint-Do examines how street art, for example, is shaking cultural institutions.


This section presents a selection of new buildings, books and exhibitions, including Roy and Diana Vagelos educational centre by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in New York, Ai Weiwei ‘s exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and Peter Zumthor’s huts scattered all along Norwegian tourist routes.

In “Point de vue” (Opinion), independent curator Jade Niklai thinks about different ways of exhibiting architecture.

Andrew Ayers offers a profile on David Adjaye, Iconic Awards’ “Architect of the Year”, who recently completed the highly symbolic National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.


This section that showcases transversal views on other disciplines opens with the Pyramid of Abidjan photographed by Iwan Baan. This spectacular brutalist building, which was built in 1973 by Rinaldo Olivieri to gather housing, offices and shops, is now occupied by families and awaiting renovation.

The “Acteurs” (Players) section is dedicated to Julien Beller, architect of the first refugee reception centre in Paris, opened at the end of October 2016.

In “Design”, Oscar Duboÿ explores the “contract” topic, an approach to design production between standardisation and tailor-made.

Régis Durand addresses the issue of scale in the “Art” section with Ron Mueck’s monumental and smaller works.


The trends section of this October issue highlights openings, from the façade to the roof.

A selection of international projects offers innovative and aesthetic solutions in terms of windows, sliding frames and panels.

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