Maxxi Museum

Maxxi Museum

Rome, Italy

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.

Dynamic room sculpture

Zumtobel Lighting Gmbh as Manufacturers

Italy‘s first national museum of contemporary art, the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Se- colo, or ‚MAXXI‘, is an expressive architectural sculpture. The dynamic nature of this embo- died form of Zaha Hadid Architects‘ notion of a ‚drift‘ – of masses and spaces that drift – is underlined by the design elements of natural and artificial light.

Located on the former grounds of the military barracks on the northern edge of the inner city, in between Tiber bend, residential area and storage buildings, the light grey structure of the MAXXI is visible from afar. The overlapping, cur- ved contours break out of the orthogonal urban grid pattern, attracting visitors magically.

The exposed concrete building appears like a huge sculpture with decoratively alternating light and shadow on the wide forecourt. Bright patterns are drawn by sunlight shining into and through the structure, shadow lines wan- der across the area, interior and exterior are connected subtly. The overhanging structures double up as projecting roofs, guiding the vi- sitor into the foyer, a hall as high as the buil- ding, interlaced with crossing stairs, passages and bridges – a Piranesi-style space composed of light concrete and black steel. The dynamic stair sculpture not only connects the five exhibi- tion levels, but also acts as a stage for the flow of movement through the ‚vertical piazza‘. The structure is flooded with natural light from glass roof to floor, delicately balanced by means of a specially developed luminous ceiling contai- ning indirect fluorescent illumination that can be added as required. This combined system ensures a homogeneous basic illumination. The architects also used artificial light as a specific design element: ‚In the hall, light is an impor- tant design element. All the lighting is integrated in the architectural elements, serving as linear structures to emphasise the dynamic layout‘, explains the architect of the project Gianluca Racana. The stairs and pathways hugging the walls or freely spanning the room are turned into carriers of light themselves. Their translucently shimmering undersides fitted with fluorescent lamps behind light-scattering foil and acrylic glass take on the appearance of boxes of light.

The generosity of the entrance hall, its flowing lines and dynamic character is continued in the exhibition halls. With straight, curved or inclined walls, with corridors, ramps and terraces, the room sequences are as surprising as differen- tiated. Some gallery parts are introverted, while others open up towards the outside with big glass walls. The halls are parallel, staggered, they cross each other, form cascading levels, meander on in different directions only to meet up again later. The visitor gladly gives himself up to drift along this flowing trajectory through the generous exhibition landscape. Instead of classical cabinets, the curators have a total area of 10,000 m2 at their disposal to exhibit contemporary art in all sorts of media. Zaha Hadid‘s complex spatial composition challen- ges the idea of traditional exhibition spaces and the neutrality of the ‚white cube‘. The MAXXI makes it possible to set up and experience art in dialogue with architecture in a new way, with stimulating cross references and associations.

The lighting design is correspondingly differen- tiated. As in the stair hall, natural light plays a major role, responsible for the almost studio- like atmosphere of the top-lit halls. ‚We wanted to provide as much natural light as possible. Since most works of art are created under day- light conditions, this facilitates the colours and surfaces to be perceived without falsification. At the same time, it was important for us to cre- ate optimal artificial light conditions‘, Gianluca Racana explains. That is what the complex lu- minous ceilings are there for. All the technical elements are integrated in the narrow roof gir- ders – steel lattice framework girders faced with concrete elements. They also carry the gratings outside, which serve to protect from the sun and to scatter light, as well as the two glass levels and the dimming blinds. Homogeneous basic illumination is ensured by dimmable flu- orescent lamps fitted behind light-scattering translucent acrylic glass on either side of the entire length of the rib girders. Aluminium lou- vers serve as sunshades, regulated by the in- telligent light management system Luxmate Li- tenet in response to the position of the sun and the required lighting. The system also controls the light output of the luminaires. This ensures a perfect mixture of natural and artificial light that can be adjusted according to the existing day- light conditions. A rail system on the underside of the girders allows additional spotlights to be mounted for point illumination. Beamers and lightweight partition walls can also be mounted there.

The exterior lighting design complements the characteristics of the architecture ideally: on the one hand accentuating the MAXXI as a new component of the city and on the other empha- sising its connection to the existing quarter.

Maxxi Museum

Barrisol - Normalu Sas as Manufacturers

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

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.


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.

Products used in this project
Product Specifications
Barrisol - Normalu SasBarrisol - Normalu SasManufacturers
COMIC 2000 S.p.a.Manufacturers
GRC System Building S.r.l.Manufacturers
INPES Prefabbricati S.p.a.Manufacturers
KONE Ascensori S.p.a.Manufacturers
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