Clear your schedule — a wave of new museums, attractions, and landmarks have just sprung up across the globe. Here are the ones on our radar, from the Zaha Hadid-designed Napoli-Afragola High Speed Train Station to Disney's new Avatar-inspired theme park.
Pierre Boulez Saal
There’s not a bad seat in the house at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal, a modular 360-degree space designed by Frank Gehry and world-renowned Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota. The wood-clad theatre hall features two oval seating areas—one that surrounds the stage, the other, a cantilevered disk that appears to hover above the graceful space. As well as being a bold spatial concept, the concert hall, which was conceived as a part of the new Barenboim-Said Academy—a school that strives to unite Arabs and Israelis through music— also makes a powerful public cultural statement.
Huanghan Mountain Village
Beijing-based architect Ma Yansong is known for designing some of China’s most daring new buildings (see: Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort and the Harbin Opera House). His latest project—a futuristic-looking residential settlement in the Hunagshan mountains—is arguably his most ambitious to date. Striving to bridge the natural and the man-made, the development is comprised of stacked-plane structures whose design emulates the local topography of the mountain range. The development will be used for a variety of different purposes, including event spaces, a hotel, and local housing.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Move over, France. There’s a new Louvre in town. Floating on a $19.4 billion island, this new foundation is the latest extension of Abu Dhabi's playground for the rich and er, richer. Inside the perforated domed structure (opening in November), you'll find 260,000 square feet of permanent and temporary art installations, including ancient bronze statues from Egypt and India.
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Pandora, World of Avatar, Disney
You don’t have to be a Disney fan to marvel at Pandora: The World of Avatar, the immersive 12-acre land that just opened at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The Avatar-themed park—six years and half a billion dollars in the making—is a jungle-like landscape filled with flowing streams, caves, bioluminescent forests, and, of course, hair-raising rides sure to make your heart race. The centerpiece: Avatar Flight of Passage, a ride that combines virtual reality and 3D motion to take visitors on an aerial tour of one of the planet’s wild Banshees.
Fresh off a $70 million revamp, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is now home to what might just be the most extravagant public courtyard in the world. Paved with 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles in 15 different patterns, the Exhibition Road Quarter comprises an alternative entrance to the museum, as well as an 11,840 square foot subterranean gallery to accommodate the museum’s headlining shows.
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King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture
Saudi Arabia’s new cultural center looks like something out of a sci-fi film—all concrete and stainless steel slabs rising above the desert like monumental geological forms. Conceived by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, who won the international competition to design it back in 2007, the center aims to promote cultural development within the country. In addition to ample auditorium and theatre space, there will also be a great hall, education center, cinema, and library.
Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall is one thing to behold—another to experience. From the moment concertgoers enter the stunning glass and brick building, they are treated to stunning views of Hamburg’s bustling harbor, as well as crystal-clear acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota (the same acoustician behind Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal). If you can’t score a ticket to one of the concerts (shows have been selling out weeks in advance), head to the building’s rooftop terrace, where panoramic city and water views await.
Napoli-Afragola High Speed Train Station
Billed as “the new gateway to south of Italy,” the Napoli Afragola Station connects residents of Campania, Puglia, Molise, Calabria, and Sicily with towns in the northern part of the country as well as with the rest of Europe. More than just a transportation hub, the Zaha Hadid-designed station is also an architectural marvel. Just check out its elevated concourse — a eye-catching space characterized by swoops and lines — to get an idea.