Imagining the Future Museum:
21 Dialogues with Architects
by András Szántó

Capturing the mindset of a generation of museum architects at a moment of accelerated change.

About the Book

What will the art museum look and feel like in five, ten, fifty years? In his previous book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues (2020), New York-based cultural strategist András Szántó interviewed a group of international museum directors, who espoused an expanding set of goals and functions for art museums. Now, in his follow-up volume, Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects, Szántó engages in conversations with visionary architects worldwide about what sort of “hardware” will be required for the art institution of tomorrow. 

21 dialogues with 25 architects who have designed museums all over the world.

What emerges from the 21 dialogues—all conducted between February and September, 2022—is a composite portrait of a generation of architects working to make the museum more flexible, porous, human-centered, culturally responsive, digitally amplified, and environmentally responsible.
Among Szántó’s conversation partners are architects already widely acclaimed for the institutions they’ve built. But the majority of the 21 respondents are emerging forces in the world of museum design – their median age is around 50 – with many years of museum-making ahead of them. The book includes an original sketch by each of the architects and photographs of selected projects by the featured studios.
New Cities & Climates

NLÉ, Amsterdam & Lagos

The New Public Room

Adjaye Associates, London, New York City, Accra

Freedom Platform

Arquitetos Associados, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Spectacle or Sanctuary

David Chipperfield Architects, London, Berlin, Milan, Shanghai

Civic Space

Mass Studies, Seoul

Architect as Artist

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York City


Frida Escobedo, Mexico City

Green Space

Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo

Archaeology of the Future

Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture, Paris

Museum as Exhibition

BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen, New York City, London, Barcelona, Shenzhen

The Anthropocene Museum

Cave_bureau, Nairobi

The Light Institution

OPEN, Beijing


SO – IL, New York City


MAD Architects, Beijing, Jiaxing, Los Angeles, Rome

The New Old

MVRDV, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Paris, Berlin

Nature & Play

Roth Architecture, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Context Is Everything

gmp – von Gerkan, Marg, and Partners Architects, Hamburg, Berlin, Aachen, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hanoi


Kerstin Thompson Architects, Melbourne

The Rural Museum

DnA Design and Architecture, Beijing

Sites of Empathy

WHY Architecture, Los Angeles and New York City

Digital Spaces

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles

ROTTERDAM – Het Nieuwe Instituut, February 11
NEW YORK – Brooklyn Museum, February 15
ASPEN – Aspen Art Museum, February 18
LOS ANGELES – Brigitte D’Annibale’s site-specific installation B= f (P, E), March 25
VENICE – Architecture Biennale, May 19

BASEL – Art Basel Conversations, June 16 
BERLIN – Bücherbogen Bookstore, June 16
SOUTHAMPTON – Parrish Art Museum, October 13
BRAZIL BOOK TOUR – October 23 – 28
Please check back for details and other events.


What will museums of the future be like? Three key takeaways from a new book

In his 2020 book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues, the cultural strategist András Szántó spoke to museum directors around the world and discovered that institutions were “turning more democratic, community-focused, equity minded, culturally inclusive, and experiential, among other pivots”. For his latest book, Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects, Szántó spoke with David Chipperfield, Frida Escobedo and David Adjaye, among others, to find out “how the momentous changes of our era” are shaping museum architecture. Below he outlines three key takeaways. Read More call_made

The Museum System Upgrade: A Q&A with András Szántó

András Szántó spoke with Adam Rozan for the American Alliance of Museums about his book The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues (2020) and its newly released sequel Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects (2022). Read More call_made

‘A Balance Between Wonder and Humility’: 25 Leading Architects Imagine How Future Museums Will Look in a Post-Starchitecture World

“But a museum that runs on new software will need new hardware. Which is why I spent the spring and summer of 2022 talking with architects from around the world.” Read an excerpt from Andras Szanto new book Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues With Architects on Artnet News. Read More call_made

Aspen Art Museum presents talk on future of museums

What is the future of museums in our global society? That is the question András Szántó and Hans Ulrich Obrist will discuss on the rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum at 4 p.m. on Sunday. They will reflect on how today’s generation of architects is working to re-invent the art museum. Szántó’s book, “Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects,” is a follow up to his 2021 book, “The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues,” in which he interviewed 28 of the world’s leading museum directors about the potential of art museums as “spaces for change and democracy.”   Read More call_made

‘Imagining the Future Museum’ at Burlington Magazine

A review of András Szántó’s latest book, ‘Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects,’ was published in the printed version of Burlington Magazine by Charles Saumarez Smith. According to Saumarez Smith, “the book traces a clear trajectory away from the big, bold, dominant structures of so many museums designed at the turn of the millennium, exemplified by Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, which hypnotised urban planners at least as much as its visitors, towards structures that are vastly less assertive, provoking ideas instead of conveying information and allowing the visitor to wander freely.”

András Szántó on Reading the Art World Podcast

Reading the Art World is a live interview and podcast series with leading art world authors hosted by art advisor Megan Fox Kelly. The conversations explore timely subjects in the world of art, design, architecture, artists and the art market, and are an opportunity to engage further with the minds behind these insightful new publications. In this episode, András Szanto speaks with Megan about how museum leaders today are changing the museums of the future.

András Szántó Invites Us to Imagine the Future Museum in Conversation with 21 Architects

András Szántó spoke with Whitewall Magazine about his new book Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with architects. Considering the content, mission, and inner workings of the museum to be its “software,” the book proposes that with the changes being made to the physicality of the museum, its “hardware”—the space in which the software exists—must also be due for an update. Read More call_made

Architecture Conversation: Hans Ulrich Obrist & András Szántó

Art museums are changing rapidly in response to accelerated cultural, political, and technological shifts in our society. A new kind of museum is emerging—more open, democratic, and accessible. This demands a new approach to museum architecture as well. Join the Aspen Art Museum on February 19 for a conversation with Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and New York–based author and cultural strategy consultant András Szántó, whose latest book Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects, surveys the emerging architectural landscape through dialogues with leading figures in the field. Read More call_made

Art Basel Conversation: The Architecture of the Future Museum

As museums seek to become more open, community-centered, experiential, digital, and connected to nature, architects can help realize their ambitions. Moderated by András Szánto, this conversation explores how architecture can lead the way in advancing and enhancing the museum. With Lina Ghotmeh(Founder, Lina Ghotmeh Architecture, Paris), Klaus Biesenbach (Director, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin), Kulapat Yantrasast (Founder and Creative Director of WHY, Los Angeles) and Jacques Herzog (co-Founder, Herzog & de Meuron, Basel). Read More call_made

Book Talk at Behavior is a function of person in their environment, Malibu

Marking the publication of Imagining the Future Museum, this event took take place March 25, 2023 at Bridgitte D’Annibale’s recently unveiled site-specific installation, B=f(P,E), Point Doom, Malibu, CA, featuring a conversation with Sandra Jackson-Dumont (Director & CEO, Lucas Museum of Art, Los Angeles), Liam Young (SCI-arc professor of digital space design), and András Szántó, moderated by Emmanuel Olunkwa (editor, Pin-Up, co-founder November Magazine).  Read More call_made

The Business of Art: New Architecture for the Museum of the Future

András Szántó spoke to Circles and Corporate Council members of the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, about how architecture and design has and will continue to impact and define the museum experience for visitors across the globe.

Podcast Reading the Art World

Listen to Megan Fox Kelly’s captivating podcast episode featuring András Szántó, author of “Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects.” Published by Hatje Cantz in January, the book provides a rare glimpse into the minds of 21 of the world’s most renowned architects as they share their thoughts on the future of museum design: “Across the board, whether you talk to a Chinese architect, or a Latin American architect, or a European architect, is this idea of opening up… Really turning the museum from this citadel or this temple on the hill, into something that is woven into the city and which embraces all of the community and all of the civic complexity that is at its front door.” Read More call_made

Review of “The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues with Architects” by Rhana Devenport, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia

Rhana Devenport, the Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, has written a review of Andras Szanto’s latest book titled “The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues with Architects” for the organization’s magazine. In her review, Devenport asserts that Szanto’s new compilation is equally captivating compared to his previous book. The notable shift in focus from museum directors and the “software” of museums to conversations with architects engaged in the conception and construction of contemporary museums highlights the significance of the “hardware” aspect of art museums. You can read the article by subscribing to the magazine. Read More call_made

Capturing the mindset of a generation of museum architects

András Szántó spoke with Hungarian magazine Octogon about what kind of “hardware” the art institutions of the future will need. Read the full interview with the link.  Read More call_made

Architect Elizabeth Roberts in conversation with András Szántó

On Saturday, July 15th, from 5:30-7 PM at Marquee Projects in Bellport, Long Island, author András Szántó will be joined by architect Elizabeth Roberts for a conversation about architecture and museums, inspired by “Imagining the Future Museum: 24 Dialogues with Architects”, Szántó’s latest book.

Icon Magazine

“Traditional museum buildings are imposing, often built in a sepulchral neoclassicist style that hulks over people below while insisting on a particular Western-centric idea of art and history. There have been some changes since – many a side effect of the commercialisation of museums as competing tourist attractions with an eye on audience numbers – but the old model remains robust even as architects and museum directors have tried to create museums that reflect changing times”, writes Joe Lloyd in his review of “Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects” by András Szántó. Read More call_made

As Museum Design Moves Beyond Starchitecture, New Blueprints Show Signs of the Future

In Andy Battaglia’s ARTnews interview with András Szántó about his latest book: Imagining the Future Museum: 21 Dialogues with Architects, they spoke about about aspirational architecture, museums’ new trend toward humility, and how the art world can help guide society at large. Read More call_made

“Imagining the Future of the Museum” review at Museums Association Journal

Owen Hopkins, the director of the Farrell Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, wrote a review of András Szántó’s 2021 book “Imagining the Future of the Museum” for the Museums Association Journal. “This book offers interesting snapshots of the ideas and influences of one set of protagonists shaping the future of museums” wrote Hopkins. Read More call_made

“Just as a generation of museum leaders began to open the museum up to a larger audience, a generation of architects started to move beyond look-at-me statements and to imagine more welcoming and accessible museums, ones that are intentionally rooted in their communities and urban or natural surroundings.”

–András Szántó

Jennifer Berndt, Hatje Cantz
Tel. +49 30 346 46 78-23
András Szántó Press
András Szántó Press

Distribution partners: D.A.P. (United States) and Thames & Hudson (Worldwide).
U.S. store book order inquiries Lydia McOscar
Images courtesy of the architects’ studios available here, find image captions here.