Lonely Planet Writer

Are these new museums among the most beautiful buildings in the world?

Some of the newest museums around the globe are bidding to be named the world’s best new building in one of the most prestigious prizes in architecture. An incredible art museum built into a disused grain silo along with a beautiful waterfront design museum are among the projects that have been nominated.

The Wadden Sea Centre in Denmark has been shortlisted. Image: Adam Morek

Altogether, 62 buildings around the world have been longlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Prize, which is awarded every two years. A good number of the projects are open to the public and can now be added to your itinerary if they happen to coincide with your travel plans.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is the world's largest museum of contemporary African art.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is the world’s largest museum of contemporary African art. Image by Heatherwick Studio

A museum of modern art in South Africa is one of the most spectacular having transformed an enormous concrete grain silo into a vibrant gallery space.  The nine-floor Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art was designed by London’s Heatherwick Studio and opened last September.

The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in Lisbon. Image by Piet Niemann/AL_A

The newest addition to Lisbon’s incredible riverside cityscape has also been nominated. The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology – or MAAT for short – opened in the city’s famous Belém district last year. Its undulating façade, covered in 15,000 separate white ceramic tiles, overlooks the Tagus.

One of the most imaginative projects is the Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana. The centre is a vast museum of open-air sculptures, which have to be seen to be believed. It’s near to Yellowstone National Park for anybody already planning a trip to one of North America’s most famous parks.

The arts center in Montana is a vast museum of open-air sculptures. Image by Tippet Rise

The Wadden Sea Centre in Denmark is a far more subtle building. It tells the story of the UNESCO world heritage site coastal area and mudflats where as many as 15 million migrating birds pass through each year. It can be found in Ribe on the Danish coast not far from the German border.

Vertical Forest
The completed living forest tower in Milan, Italy. Image by Stefano Boeri Architetti

Another project to feature this year on Lonely Planet may not be open to visitors as such but is still wowing visitors to the Italian city of Milan. It consists of two living towers that were built with 480 large and medium trees, 300 small trees, 11,000 perennial and creeping plants, and 5000 shrubs.

You can see the full list of projects at the Royal Institute of British Architects page for the international prize.