In the words of Zaha Hadid
‘An interesting thing about the museum in Rome is that it is no longer an object, but rather a field, which implies that many programs could be attached to the museum. It’s no longer a museum, but a centre.
- Zaha Hadid
The MAXXI relates to the urban context in which it is inserted by re-proposing the horizontal development of the former military barracks, in opposition to the taller residential buildings that surround the site. The geometric structure of the project is aligned along the two grids that regulate the urban structure of this part of the city.
The MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts, instituted by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, is Italy’s first national public museum dedicated to contemporary creativity. The definitive home of the museum, designed by Zaha Hadid (winner of the 1999 international design competition) is currently nearing completion in Rome’s Flaminio neighbourhood, on the site of the former Montello Barracks. Since 2003 an experimental and innovative construction site has been working to complete this new, ultramodern museum.
In opposition to the decisive architectural sign that dominates the exterior spaces and the atrium, a more sober spatial quality characterises the exhibition halls that host the collections of the two museums. A combination of glass (roof), steel (stairs and columns) and concrete (walls) defines the neutral appearance of the display spaces, while moveable panels ensure the flexibility of their use.
The fluid and sinuous forms and the variation and interweaving of different levels– assisted by the modulated use of natural light – combine to create a highly complex spatial and functional experience that offers continuously different and unexpected views, from the interior towards the open spaces. The project is characterised by two primary architectural elements: the exposed concrete walls that delimit the exhibition halls and determine the intertwining of volumes, and the transparent roof that modulates and filters natural light. Finally, the roofing system contains all of the various equipment required by the museum’s functions: it integrates operable glazing, natural light filtering devices, artificial illumination and environmental control systems.
MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo – via Guido Reni, 2f 00196 Roma
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