MO Modern Art Museum

Vilnius, Lithuania


Conceived as a cultural gateway that connects the 18th century grid to the medieval walled city, the Studio Libeskind’s design for the MO Modern Art Museum is a destination and new public space for the surrounding neighborhood.  The new museum references the local architecture in form and materials while becoming a modern space dedicated to the exploration of Lithuanian artist works from 1960 to the present.  The collection, belonging to Viktoras Butkus and Danguole Butkiene, co-founders of the non-profit Modern Art Center (MAC) Vilnius, contains more than 4,000 works including paintings: Vincas Kisarauskas “Falling Broken Man” 1965; Arvydas Saltenis “Woman” 1972; and Kostas Dereskevicius “Mailboxes” 1987; photographs by Antanas Sutkus “J.P. Sartre ir S. de Beauvoir in Lithuania”; video by Deimantas Narkevicius “The Dud Effect”.

The museum’s façade is clad in luminous, white plaster that references local building materials.  A dramatic open stair that intersects the museum on its diagonal axis creates an expressive counterpoint to the minimal exterior.  It connects the street with an open-air terraced roof that serves as a gathering area and place for public performances and talks. A five meter cantilevered glazed wall extends over the terrace and allows views from the galleries out to the public space.

At the entrance visitors will enter the museum though a two-story glazed entrance and into a light filled lobby. Interior glazed openings offer visitors a peek behind the scenes and into the collection storage vault that holds a selection of artworks. These unexpected and sometimes playful moments continue throughout the building. A main spiral staircase greets visitors and brings them into the museum spaces  and upper galleries.

The museum includes a café, bookstore, educational areas, auditorium, as well as storage and administrative space.

“It is a feast for the eyes indoor and out, with a sculpture garden connected to a rooftop terrace as well as a bookstore and cafe.”
– Architectural Digest, 2018


2019 – Architizer A+ Awards, Finalist
2018 – European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award, nomination
2018 – Architects Association of Lithuania, Žvilgsnis į save Exhibition, Best Architecture Award
2018 – Mano erdvė, Best Interior Project Award