Rome's new monument

13 Nov 2009

Hadid's MAXXI design shines in the Italian capital city

More than ten years in the making, the National Museum for XXI Century Art (MAXXI) has completed in Rome. A commission that Zaha Hadid could not ignore, MAXXI was an opportunity to fuse ancient with modern in the Flaminio quarter of Rome, in the area of the former Montello military barracks, an opportunity she was awarded upon winning the international competition in 1999.

Incorporating MAXXI Arte and MAXXI Architecture as well as an auditorium, bookstore, cafeteria, laboratories, study spaces and additional exhibition space, MAXXI creates an intrigue formed of tension between the old and the new, the inside and the outside. References to the location's past in the steel gated entrance and to traditional architecture with the front facing facade, are dominated by an urge to explore the modern concrete structure looming behind - a cue to look to an alternative future for Rome. As Hadid says: "I see the MAXXI as an immersive urban environment for the exchange of ideas, feeding the cultural vitality of the city."

A consistent relationship between the indoors and the outdoors is generated connecting the structure to the urban fabric of Rome. From the outside plaza from which visitors will enter when the building opens in Spring 2010, vast glazed vistas entice entry and give glimpses of the exhibition spaces. From within the vast transparent roof allows natural light to be modulated via a highly controlled roofing system which filters sunlight.

The bare sinuous concrete walls provide a blank canvas for the exhibitions and aid navigation through the building fuelling anticipation as one travels through a series of continuous spaces.

The showstopper of the design is found upon entry where visitors' eyes are led upwards into a vast space occupied by monochrome criss-crossing stairways, made luminous with the aid of lighting designer Equation Lighting whose work adds detail and spectacle to the design.

Total site aera: 29,000 sq m
Exterior spaces: 19,640 sq m
Interior spaces: 21,200 sq m
Exhibition spaces: 10,000 sq m
Facilities (auditorium, library, media centre, coffee shop, restaurant, admin) 6,000 sq m
MAXXI Arte: 4,077 sq m
MAXXI Architecture: 1,935 sq m
Total volume: 113,000 m3
Maximum height: 22.90 m

Client: Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Minister Sandro Bondi, Fondazione MAXXI - President Pio Baldi
Architects: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Local Architect: ABT (Rome)Structural Engineering: Anthony Hunt Associates, OK Design Group
Mechanical Engineering: Max Fordham and Partners, OK Design Group
Lighting Design: Equation Lighting
Acoustic Design: Paul Gilleron Acoustic

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