Nigel Young/Foster + Partners
Architects love renovating an out-of-date museum — the task architect Ulrich Hamann faced when he was commissioned to add a wing to the Lenbachhaus Museum in Munich. It took four years and $79 million to outfit the elegant 19th-century, Tuscan-style villa with all the bells and whistles that come with 21st-century technology. Twenty percent of the expenses went into things you can’t see, including a state-of-the-art geothermal heating-and-cooling system that pumps water through the galleries’ walls to keep the art at an even temperature. Visible to the naked eye, though, are thoughtful elements like artist Dietmar Tanteri’s LED installations that use light-emitting diodes to resemble daylight and Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s stunning 26-foot, chrome-and-glass conical piece, which hangs from the ceiling in the atrium. Separate galleries throughout the museum display works by artists of the Blue Rider circle, which includes Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Paul Klee and Franz Marc.