Museum architecture: receptacle or spectacle?

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Museum architects have become “Starchitects” – global celebrities beyond the architectural community, producing iconic buildings that turn cities into places of destination.

The phenomenon really started in 1977 with the opening of the Center Pompidou designed by a team of architects: the Italian icon Renzo Piano, the Briton Richard Rogers and his compatriot Gianfranco Franchini. This so-called “deconstructionist architecture” with its industrial aesthetic was as much about urban granularity as it was technical efficiency and the spectacular – and it changed the way we approach the museum.

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Gina Fairley is the National Visual Arts Editor for ArtsHub. For a decade, she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the regional editor for the Hong Kong-based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing, she worked as an artistic director in America and Australia for 14 years, including in regional galleries, biennials and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina


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