tips for visiting modern architecture


Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

A few tips I have picked up during my travels visiting architecture in a foreign city.


Sometimes it is impossible to see it all, even with all the planning and research building’s close, weather changes, we get lost, some building’s will take longer to see because they are out-of-the-way or perhaps it is a giant museum that could take a day to see the exhibit, or our travel companion may have had their fill of architecture for the day.

I always list my buildings in three categories before my trip:

1. Absolutely will not leave this city without seeing this building!
2. Really want to see
3. I will live if I don’t see that building

Once all the buildings are placed in a category in my head or on paper I have a better sense of how to setup my travel Itinerary.


There is nothing worse than a long trek to see an Architectural gem and it is closed. This has happened to me and I have been devastated, particularly because it took a lot of effort to get their too. It is important to double-check the hours and any closures, especially around holidays or for museums. Nowadays most building’s have websites so it is easy however if there is any doubt because you found some conflicted information a quick phone call to confirm or upon arrive at your hotel you can always ask the concierge. If language is an issue a photo of the building has helped me on a number of occasions they may not understand you but a picture is worth a thousand words. Trust me it is worth it to be prepared, particularly for the architecture in the “must see” category.


It is always easier to do a few neighborhoods in a day rather than going back and forth all over town. A map marking out where the architecture is located helps clearly identify if they are close together or if any of the building’s are far and singled out. In my experience if a single building is far off the radar I go back to my priority list and determine if it is worth the additional effort and time, occasionally a building can drop a category in the list if there is no public transit or it will take the whole day to get to. Visit the architecturegroupie website for an address list of modern architecture which is organized by city and includes clear photos of the architecture featured. The Maps are available to eliminate the need to plot your own course.


A building tour can be a great, sometimes the only way, to get inside and see the architecture. Always ask if there are architecture tours available, they may not run as often but the tour is usually tailored to the information an architecture groupie would be interested in. If the tour doesn’t work with your schedule or your wallet you can do some internet research or puck up a book on the architect or building which will provide information and increase your appreciation and experiencing.


Many tourist just hit the hot spots take a picture and are on their way. I doubt any architecture groupies fall into this category however it is always worth spending some more time and enjoy the building for its intended use. So if you are in a carefully designed museum go through the exhibit, a solemn church deserves a moment of silence or in a beautiful shopping mall – go shopping! does the architecture bring out the purpose well?

architecture groupies do not need to know everything about architecture – they just need to enjoy it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s