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MAXXI: a campus for culture

Zaha Hadid Architects as Architects

The MAXXI_Museum of 21st Century Arts is a foundation created by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (Minister Sandro Bondi). The president is Pio Baldi.


Designed by architect Zaha Hadid (winner of the international competition in 1999), the MAXXI is located in the Flaminio quarter of Rome, in the area of the former Montello military barracks.


The complex houses two institutions: MAXXI Arte (Director Anna Mattirolo) and MAXXI Architecture (Director Margherita Guccione), aiming to promote art and architecture through collection, conservation, study and exhibition of contemporary works. As of today, over 300 works are part of the MAXXI Art collection, including those of Boetti, Clemente, Kapoor, Kentridge, Merz, Penone, Pintaldi, Richter, Warhol and many others. MAXXI Architecture includes the files of the designs of Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi, Pierluigi Nervi and others, as well as the projects of contemporary authors such as Toyo Ito, Italo Rota and Giancarlo De Carlo, and photography collections of the projects Italian Atlas and Author’s Site.


Designed as a true multi-disciplinary and multi-purpose campus of the arts and culture, the MAXXI creates an urban complex for the city that can be enjoyed by all. The MAXXI includes – in addition to the two museums – an auditorium, library and media library, bookshop and cafeteria, spaces for temporary exhibitions, outdoor spaces, live events and commercial activities, laboratories, and places for study and leisure.


The MAXXI, open to the city and to the world, is offered as a point of reference for public and private institutions in Italy and abroad, as well as for artists, architects and the wider public.


The design by Zaha Hadid is woven into the city’s fabric with an architectural arrangement based on the idea of an urban campus. In the MAXXI, the idea of a “closed” building gives way to a broader dimension, creating both indoor and outdoor spaces that become part of the surrounding city.


The two museums - MAXXI Art and MAXXI Architecture – are located around a large full height space which gives access to the galleries dedicated to permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, the auditorium, reception services, cafeteria and bookshop. Outside, a pedestrian walkway follows the outline of the building, restoring an urban link that has been blocked for almost a century by the former military barracks.


Materials such as glass (roof), steel (stairs) and cement (walls) give the exhibition spaces a neutral appearance, whilst mobile panels enable curatorial flexibility and variety.


The fluid and sinuous shapes, the variety and interweaving of spaces and the modulated use of natural light lead to a spatial and functional framework of great complexity, offering constantly changing and unexpected views from within the building and outdoor spaces.


Two principle architectural elements characterize the project: the concrete walls that define the exhibition galleries and determine the interweaving of volumes; and the transparent roof that modulates natural light. The roofing system complies with the highest standards required for museums and is composed of integrated frames and louvers with devices for filtering sunlight, artificial light and environmental control.

Architecture and Art: National Museum MAXXI in Rome

BEGA as Lighting

Like the head of a coiled snake, the projecting showcase of the curved top floor is enthroned above the entrance zone. The external impression of the MAXXI is one of a seemingly free composition of winding parts of structures arranged one on top of the other and in rows. The projection of artificial light provides the exciting architectural composition with a further dimension. Floors, walls and ceilings of the valuted structures are exposed as reflection surfaces through targeted illumination.

The shape of the huge structures is repeatedly complemented outside in two ways. Indirect area lighting illuminates the undersides. Projecting structural elements rest on rows of round filigree columns.

The team of architects quickly decided to install drive-over BEGA in-ground luminaires throughout the network of paths. The metal halide lamps used are maintenance and energy friendly with an average service life of 12,000 hours.

The enormous installations of the artist Gino de Dominicis, whose creations transformed and enlarged he human body into a gigantic form, enter into a fascinating dialogue with their surroundings. In contrast to the filigree rows of columns, the confusion the oversized, unfamiliar human skeletons create for the observer is intensified. Structural and artistic effects skilfully interact. Rows of drive-over BEGA in-ground luminaires installed in close proximity uniformly illuminate the undersides of the layered structures and conjure up an effective interplay of light and shadow on the large sculptures.

The role of glass in this daylight museum is significant. The other dominant material is wonderfully bright, three-dimensionally shaped exposed concrete which defines the building from inside and outside. The counterpoint is formed by the elegant curved and winding black metal stairways. In parallel, rows of BEGA luminaires provide the same contrast of material and colour to the bright swinging surfaces and elements of architecture outside.

Architecture in a fascinating dialogue with luminaire design: an impressive architectural detail by day, they become a convenient lighting system by night. They create glarefree light on ground surfaces.

Ten years of planning and construction at a cost of 150 million euros have been worthwhile. The complex and technically demanding building has exceeded the client’s every expectation. It will be interesting to see how the changing art exhibitions of the 21st century will be highlighted against this architectural masterpiece.

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Maxxi Museum

Barrisol - Normalu Sas as Stretch Ceilings

Zaha Hadid, english-iraki architect, first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 (Nobel Prize of architecture), just ended in Rome the creation of the MAXXI: National Museum of the 21st Century Arts. Barrisol® Lumière® has been installed in this historical and contemporary museum

MAXXI - Rome

Secco Sistemi SPA as Integrated systems for doors, windows, shutters and façades.

The project by Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the
Pritzkler prize in 2004, situated in Rome and opened in 2015,
is part of the urban fabric of the Flaminio district and creates
a large block establishing a strong sense of continuity with
the former Montello barracks, which has been transformed
with a new function. What stands out about the architecture
of the museum is its complex volumetric arrangement, with
the sinuous and interrupted lines of the walls, the protruding
prismatic shapes, the smooth, uninterrupted surface of the
concrete; of particular note is also the experimentation with
the idea of an exhibition area, with the interweaving of the
itineraries and levels, and the skilful game of the light that
filters through the roof in the succession of rooms, galleries
and multifarious spaces. Most striking of all is the vast
entrance hall, which is as high as the whole building and opens
onto the street thanks to long horizontal cuts: these are
transparent, curved and straight walls, where the entrances
to the museum are located, with extremely high doors with a
single pane of glass, and characterised by their clear profiles
with a limited section of the solid, secure, high performance
EBE 85 system. During the restoration of the Montello
Barracks the original wooden doors and windows were
replaced with EBE 65 profiles in painted galvanised steel.

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More than just a museum

Fondazione MAXXI as Tenants

MAXXI is the first national museum dedicated to contemporary creativity. It opened in May 2010 and is run by a Private Foundation instituted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. Moreover, in 2013, it was recognized as being among the private institutes that also conduct research. Conceived as a large campus for culture, MAXXI, designed by Zaha Hadid, winner of an international tender, is a great architectural work featuring innovative and spectacular forms. MAXXI produces and hosts art, architecture, design and photography shows, as well as fashion, cinema and music projects, theater and dance performances, lectures and meetings with artists, architects, and some of the leading contemporary figures. MAXXI is more than just a museum: it is a platform open to all the languages of creativity, a place of encounter, exchange and collaboration, a space open to everyone.


MAXXI is located in Rome’s Flaminio quarter on the site of a disused army barracks. Convering an area of 29,000 square meters, with a large open square in the middle, it also hosts an auditorium, a research center with a library and archive, a bookshop, a cafeteria and a café/ restaurant. The architectural complex is integrated with the fabric of the city and constitutes a new open urban space that is articulated and “permeable” to transition. Inside, a large full-height hall leads to the galleries that develop over three floors, and host the museum’s permanent collections, shows and cultural events on a rotating basis. Glass, steel and concrete give the exhibition space a neutral appearance, while the mobile panels guarantee the flexibility of the installations. The fluid, sinuous shapes, the variation and interweaving of the levels determine a highly complex spatial pattern, thus offering visitors different and unexpected routes.

PROGRAMMA 400HR AT MAXXI

pba S.p.A as pba handrails

The MAXXI design goes beyond the concept of the building-museum. The complexity of the volumes, the curving walls, the variations and intersections of the levels determine a very rich spatial and functional configuration that visitors may pass through via ever different and unexpected routes.


pba handrails Programma 400-HR have been designed for the curving walls and the stairs. Tailor-Made Handrails in Stainless Steel AISI 316L.


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