The Caixa is a necessary contemporary counterpart to the Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen museums. In high contrast to the centuries-old palaces those institutions inhabit, the contemporary collections here are housed in an industrial warehouse that’s been reinterpreted by Herzog and de Meuron. Fittingly, you can expect cutting-edge exhibitions of pieces from the last 30 years. Like the now iconic vertical garden at its entrance, the museum literally breathes fresh air into the neighborhood dominated by the old guard art institutions. Photo: Carles Escrig i Royo

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