Challenging the white cube...

Thursday 03 Nov 2011

Museum renovation project formed from a complex play of black and red, space and movement

Inserted into a former industrial complex and facing a site under the control of cultural heritage authorities, the Macro extension building resonates in this static existing site condition with dynamism, movement and sensitivity.

In the architectural work, the section reveals the invisible; in the Macro project, the section is revealed throughout the transfer from horizontal to vertical, from inside to outside - from the Foyer to the rooftop's landscape.

The old and the new, the exhibition rooms as well as the other activities are both articulated and specifically distinct. In the system of transfer, the new occurs as contaminating, giving to each part its specificity.

The specific quality of the Macro, which must have contributed to this project being selected, remains in the dynamic embedding of the new into the existing building, creating a public space with specific urban qualities.

It offers not only a multipilicity of spaces and approaches to contemporary art display, but also, within this dense urban fabric, a true public space on top of the building, transforming its roof into a landscape integrating all the specific qualities of Roman public space. At the centre is a fountain, seen from above and below, as its glass roof covers the heart of the museum's extension, the Foyer.

Concerning colour and texture, black and red are the two characteristic colours used. Red is used for the auditorium, which is the heart of the museum, and black appears as an alternative to the neutrality of white. Black is also another way of playing with the idea of neutral colour: white is the most obviously neutral, and used as the most common colour in museum settings.

The Macro displays both; the white, used in the exhibition rooms, the black, used in the Foyer as its opposite. Black in contrast becomes surprising, swallowing the Roman daylight in order to reveal colour in an unexpected, sensual way.

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