We asked architects to share their favourite museums from across the world, and the results are (no surprise!) just as stunning as the exhibits you’ll find inside.

For many, a trip to the museum is about what’s on the inside. But for these architects, a museum’s exterior facade—one that contributes to the museum’s story as a whole, creating a marriage between the cityscape, architecture and exhibitions—is worth a trip in itself. (Photo: David Coggins, Flickr.)

Chinati FoundationMarfa, Texas, USA

“Chinati Foundation is a very cool site to visit. It allows work to be viewed in the context envisioned by the artist. Artifacts and the building are seen as one here. It’s a rare type of museum typology.” —Clinton Cuddington, Measured Architecture, Inc. (Photo: Leigh Carmichael and Museum of Old and New Art.)

Museum of Old and New ArtHobart, Tasmania, Australia

“I love museums that are more than simply an iconic building. Great museums should almost feel like places of pilgrimage; a pilgrimage to see the art, the building or the surroundings takes the experience to a higher level. MONA is not an exceptional building though it has exceptional moments: the museum resides in one of the more distant corners of the planet, its galleries are carved into the rock outcrop it sits on, visitors enter at the top and descend into its depths beside the stunning geology of the exposed rock face interior, corten bridges criss-cross the spaces between galleries filled with ancient and contemporary work. The contrast of the work and the space itself is glorious—and the effort to get there is worth the price of admission.” —Michael Green, MGA 

Centre PompidouParis, France

“The innovative design (a collaboration between Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano) essentially turns the building ‘inside out’ in an effort to create an uninterrupted interior volume for exhibitions. The building’s (colour coded!) structural, mechanical, electrical and circulation systems sit on the outside, making the interior galleries incredibly clean and free of clutter. It is incredible to see an exhibition on the top floor of the Pompidou because it offers such a strong sense of context. The free flow galleries offer views across Paris, allowing you to view the National Collection of Modern Art at the same time that you gaze across the charming rooftops of the 2nd arrondissement.”—Kate Allen, Frank Architecture  (Photo: Idej Elixe.)

La BiosphèreMontréal, Quebec

“The structure is something of an engineering dream. Being conceived for the Worlds Fair of 1967 allowed it a similar freedom to that of the Eiffel Tower. Buckminister Fuller created a beautiful expression of engineering and structure that becomes an iconic and beautiful form that can only be imagined in the context of a world’s fair such as Expo ’67.” —Scott Normand, Design-Built (Photo: Andrzej Otrębski, Wikimedia.)

MumokVienna, Austria

“Designed by Austrian architects Ortner and Ortner, this museum (along with the modern Leopold Museum) bookends the older Beaux-Arts buildings and creates a contemporary landmark in Vienna’s impressive museums quarter.” —Shafraaz Kaba, Manasc Isaac