These museums and performing arts centers by Rem Koolhaas, Bureau V, MAD, Thomas Phifer and Partners, Zaha Hadid, SOM, Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando, and Carme Pinós earned their places in our year-end roundup.
Scroll through the slideshow to see images of our top picks, and click each project's name to read the article for more information on the architects' inspiration, process, and specifications.
Messner Mountain Museum Corones | Zaha Hadid Architects | Bolzano, Italy
A mountaineering museum puts the daunting and spectacular landscape around it into sharp focus. Make sure to watch the time-lapse construction video!
Whitney Museum of American Art |Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper Robertson | New York
After failed attempts to add on to its iconic uptown venue, the Whitney Builds a new home that reaches out to its neighbors. Make sure to watch the time-lapse construction video!
Corning Museum of Glass Contemporary Art + Design Wing | Thomas Phifer and Partners | Corning, New York
Thomas Phifer and Partners takes advantage of glass's unique qualities with free-flowing galleries inside a light-filled museum.
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art | OMA | Moscow
Rem Koolhaas revamps an industrial-size Soviet-era cafeteria, so it now feeds Russia's desire to play a bigger role on the global art scene.
Prada Foundation | OMA | Milan
Fashion Forward: At an old distillery complex, Rem Koolhaas's Prada Foundation mixes one part creative preservation with one part bold new architecture.
Harbin Opera House | MAD Architects | Harbin, China
The sensual lines of a performing-arts complex express a city's bold bid for attention.
The Strand Theater | SOM | San Francisco
SOM reinvents a 100-year-old theater for a new era.
National Sawdust | Bureau V | New York
A chamber-sized venue in Brooklyn rewrites the score for classical and experimental music.
Poly Grand Theater | Tadao Ando Architect & Associates | Shanghai
A Pritzker Prize–winning architect carves tunnels through a concrete-and-glass box to create a bold theater complex for a burgeoning district in Shanghai.
CaixaForum | Estudio Carme Pinós | Zaragoza, Spain
At a dynamic arts center, L-shaped volumes seem to float as they cantilever out to the surrounding city.