It might be a little unfair to compare such two dramatically different building types, but not if the main frame of reference is the way in which they represent different attitudes to urban design.
In contrast, the Spanish museum looks for all the world like one of those metal toolboxes, serving as some ill-conceived metaphor for its exhibitions, while its urban gestures of water, overlooking lawn and long, glazed events space are portrayed as clumsy and forlorn.
The supporting images of each project serve only to reinforce the contrast. The delicate refuge of the Japanese, a jewel in natural materials and greenery, subtly manipulating spatial sequence, and making the most of its introverted courtyard; the Spanish museum in comparison like dumped aluminium junk.
Mind you, I am conscious that even a casual study of the plans included in the article on the Design Museum reveals that on the urban design front, the photographer has done no justice to the concept. His frame appears drawn irresistibly to the architecture as sculpture, or possibly to Jean Nouvel's phallic Torre Agbar office tower behind it. Ironic that the photographer should be taking the images from the other side of the new 'lake', a more crafted bank with steps down to the water, affording choices of summer shade, if not complimentary sunny winter prospect. The new Design Museum may not be junk architecture, but even after allowing for the photographer's poor choice of images, it still looks like it.
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