Assembling a list of architectural tourism sites in Europe seems like a fool’s errand, a job that could literally never be completed. With centuries of stunning Roman buildings, colossal cathedrals, and dense cities, nearly every corner of the continent teems with must-see design. Instead of creating an all-encompassing list of every treasured buildings of Europe, Curbed has compiled a list of some of the new new attractions, renovations, and buildings worth visiting during a summer vacation. Consider this a supplement to your overseas itinerary.Read More
Architectural Tourism Map of Europe: Stunning Places to See This Summer
Recent renovations and new additions worth adding to your travel plans this summer
The pioneering modernist villa created in 1927 by Irish designer and architect Eileen Gray, a white, Cubist ship of a structure looking out over the ocean, helped usher in the Modernist era, and provoked a long-standing feud with Le Corbusier. After a complicated restoration, the structure is open for guests, with the preservation organization Cap Moderne offering tours with advanced booking. The surrounding structures, such as Etoile del Mer and Cabanon, where Corbu lived at the end of his life, are also open for tours.
Tate Modern Switch House
Due to open in June, the new extension of Britain’s most famous modern art museum gives architects Herzog & de Meuron the chance to place a symbolic silhouette on the original Tate space they designed more than 15 years ago. A 10-story pyramid of angled bricks, the striking structure offers a refreshing addition to the Thames waterfront, as well as a prime space for people-watching and an additional 226,042 square feet of exhibition space for installations and performance arts. Guardian critic Olly Wainwright has called it “powerful addition to the city, an unsettling presence that is at once seductive and forbidding.”
Literally wrapped in gold, this Rem Koolhaas-designed arts complex transcended any tacky associations that choice of facade may suggest. A creative reuse project that transformed a collection of old distillery buildings into a vital theater, gallery, and arts center in a city teeming with culture, the complex is a must-visit in the region. Even the cafe, a midcentury watering hole designed by twee figurehead Wes Anderson, offers elevated design.
Vitra Museum Addition and Renberger-Weg
Art and architecture lovers attracted to the campus of this famous furniture and home goods retailer have a few more reasons to make a pilgrimage to the southwest corner of Germany this summer. First, the Vitra Campus, already a stunning collection of buildings by the likes of the late Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Álvaro-Siza, will be getting an addition, the Vitra Schaudepot, designed by the Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron. The new structure, which opens in early June, will showcase hundreds of pieces of furniture from the company’s vast archives. After guests tour the campus, they can take a trip through the picturesque countryside via the Rehberger-Weg art walk, a three-mile trail which contains two dozen different installations, including an enormous cukooing clock face.
No, you still have to wait on the Sagrada Familia. But if you’re coming to Barcelona looking for Gaudi this summer, you should add this home to your itinerary. The first commission by the famous architect, this building, with a polychromatic pattern of pressed tiles on the façade and cast iron rails shaped to resemble palms growing nearby, is stunning, and worth a visit. Later this fall, the interior will open as a public museum, providing additional insight into Gaudi’s genius.
La Cité Du Vin
It’s been called the Guggenheim of wine, and hearing the architects from the Parisian practice XTU describe this curvaceous new building in Bordeaux—the shape recalls gnarled vine stock and the swirls of wine in a glass—gives the abstract shape more context. But it’s inside, where interactive displays and technology try to engage a tech-savvy audience in the intricacies of viticulture, where the building aims to truly change the museum experience.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
After 160 years away from the public eye, the private residence of distinguished 18th and 19th century British architect Sir John Soane was reopened last year restored as part of a six-year collaboration between the Soane Museum and Julian Harrap Architects. Soane may not be a household name in the United States, but the influential 18th- and 19th-century London architect has perhaps done more to shape classical-influenced architecture and design on both sides of the Atlantic than any other. In addition to the stunning interiors, the residence contains a custom-built model room containing cork replicas of Roman and Greek masterpieces.
Markthal Housing & Market Hall
Contemporary food halls that capture the energy and excitement of a busy city have sprouted up in markets and squares around the globe, but few do a good job at reinventing the genre as this grey, horseshoe-shaped mixed-use building by MVDRV. Comprising nearly 100 stalls, the busy shop floor is wrapped with towering grey ceiling, animated by a colorful, cornucopia mural projected on its underside. The integration of apartments into the surrounding structure only makes the hive of activity even more of a strategic community builder.
'Observatory of Light' at the Fondation Louis Vuitton
A new gust of inspiration has filled the 12 glass sails of this French landmark, all due to artist Daniel Buren’s incredible installation. By applying a vibrant series of gels in a facade-changing checkerboard pattern, he’s given Gehry’s building a bold, brilliant dash of color. His temporary display runs through the rest of the year.
Serpentine Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels
If you thought Starchitect Bjarke Ingels couldn’t get any more exposure, well think again. The Dutch architect joins the distinguished roster of those asked to create a temporary structure in this serene London park. His planned structure, a series of bricks arrayed in an “unzipped fashion,” open on June 10 and will be joined over the summer by four other structures that offer modern riffs on Queen Caroline's Temple, an 18th-century summer home that used to be on the park grounds.
Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology
While it technically won’t open until the fall, this unique institution deserves to be on the radar of architecture fans. Designed by London-based architect Amanda Levete, the structure, set upon the waterfront in the hip Belem district of Lisbon, will blend art, architecture, and technology, offering displays, exhibitions, and artwork that cross between disciplines. Summer travelers can get a sense of what’s in store before the entire complex is finished starting June 28, when the Lightopia exhibit, which features a look at the evolution of lighting design and technology, opens in completed sections of the museum.
This unique restoration of this 9th-century Andalusian castle has been both hailed as a brilliiant example of preservation or compared to the famously botched fresco that became an internet meme. Whatever side you may be on in the aesthetic argument, the redesign and renovation of the Matrera castle by local architect Carlos Quevedo has made the sleepy heritage site a hotspot.
A cantileverd cultural institution dedicated to rock and youth culture, the centerpiece of a larger complex, resembles an oversized Jambox situated in the center of a Scandinavian city. Set among a series of cement factories in Roskilde, the beveled complex, created in concert with Dutch firm COBE, features gold aluminum panels on the glam exterior, along with a red interior meant to recall the velvet lining of a guitar case. It makes for a great stop during the city’s namesake music festival in June and July.
Claiming the title the world’s first crowdfunded piece of public infrastructure, this bright yellow pedestrian bridge connects disparate parts of Amsterdam, Designed by ZUS, the Luchtsingel, or air canal, offers a visitors a chance to walk above the city beside the names of thousands of supporters etched into planks alongside the walkway.
Biesbosch Museum Island
This refurnished park, which opened last summer, stands as an entry point to a Dutch national park, and blends seamlessly into the surrounding marshlands, with a green roof blanketing the slanted, angular interior.
Sky Garden at Walkie Talkie Tower
While it opened more than a year ago, this new viewing tower atop the Walkie Talkie is likely news to those heading to London. A three-level garden atop the Rafael Viñoly-designed tower offers a new vantage point from which to observe London’s rapidly changing skyline, as well as the expected high-priced drinking and dining spots taking advantage of the view.
Those visiting Amsterdam and renting a bike should make this shiny new public passageway a must-see on their list. Outfitted with 80,000 Delft Blue tiles arranged in murals designed by Irma Boom, the pedestrian- and bike-friendly tunnel is a stylish example of stellar public architecture.