Christmas and the holidays are almost upon us. Are you already tired from the week to come? Bored at the idea of waiting around babysitting the kids while everyone else is out skiing? No problem! We have selected five stunning museums to defrost your winter boredom – goodies for art lovers, curious minds, or simply for those dreaming about the next holiday!
In the Guizhou province of China, we found a treat for tea lovers! The Meitan Tea Museum is housed in an unmistakably large teapot over 74 meters tall, and is designed to pay tribute to the city as the birthplace of green tea. If filled, the giant teapot would be brimming with 28 million cubic meters of tea!
Curiously, the building is listed as the Guinness World Record largest teapot monument (yes, that category really exists). A deserving title for such an astonishing work of architecture!
Those of you who would rather be submerged in tropical waters than frigid ski slopes, look no further than The Underwater Museum of Cancun, Mexico. This is a real underwater experience that visitors can easily take part in. Once immersed, you can swim among 450 striking statues created by Jason deCaires Taylor. These statues were placed underwater in order to create an artificial marine barrier by which algae, polyps, and corals proliferate. Art meets marine biology – take a dive and see for yourself.
Avid readers ought not to miss the incredible Picture Book Museum of Iwaki, Japan. Initially designed by architect Tadao Ando as a private library for children, it has now become a public place for visitors to admire dynamic architecture and a plethora of international children’s books. Minimalist decoration and only three building materials (reinforced concrete, glass, and wood) are the architectural ingredients that make this building so unique. The interiors showcase the museum’s collection of over 1,300 children’s books framed within the architecture. The Picture Book Museum has something to offer for everyone, young and old!
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has become a household name for those interested in the art world, with its five contemporary art museums scattered across the globe. Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic architecture of the New York museum (with its mesmerizing spiral staircase) has received lots of attention by curious onlookers and art critics alike. But perhaps not everyone knows of the Foundation’s site in Bilbao, Spain designed by Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry. As seen from the Nervion River, the building has not a single flat surface, appearing almost like a deconstructed ship anchored at the prominent Spanish port. The shimmering panels covering the Guggenheim’s exterior resemble shining fish scales. This detail exemplifies Gehry’s interest in presenting natural phenomena through organic architectural forms.
Impressively, an aerial view of the building reveals the abstracted shape of a flower. Every corner of the Bilbao location presents dynamic and surprising moments of architectural awe. Much of the splendor of the Museum can be attributed to computerized architectural and engineering simulations that turned previously impossible forms into reality – a miracle of innovation!
Designed by architect Jan Kaplicky and inaugurated in 2012, the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari in Modena, Italy is dedicated to the life and work of Enzo Ferrari, founder and namesake of the luxury vehicle. Built with environmental sustainability in mind, not only is this museum equipped with a geothermal heating system and a water recycling plant, it is also naturally illuminated from its massive front facing glass wall. The building is wrapped in a bold yellow hood, a color tied to the company’s famous prancing horse symbol as well as the city of Modena’s vibrant yellow architecture. The interiors of the MEF are soft, wavy, and entirely white, providing a neutral backdrop for exhibiting the cars and accentuating their remarkable engineering.