MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts

Edit profile
MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts

MAXXI museum, exterior view, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

The MAXXI Museum in Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects – part 2
(Continued from Part 1)

The architecture of the MAXXI
With a total floor area of 310,000 square feet, the ensemble conceived by ZHA integrates some of the old military structures with a new, L-shaped, building.
A  full-heigh lobby constitutes the core of the museum, from which access to exhibition galleries, auditorium, cafeteria, shop and service spaces are provided.
A large stairwell and series of bridges interconnect the different parts of the building. The old military structures accommodate a restaurant, a library, an architecture archives center, and various administration and staff offices.
The external areas between the buildings form a welcoming array of outdoor spaces, provided with chairs, tables, white-concrete benches, and green areas.

Ground floor and first floor plans, MAXXI museum Rome, ZHA

The main lobby of the MAXXI, photos © Inexhibit, 2015

View of the main staicase, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Structural concept
The structure of the new building is composed of curved side walls made in bare self-consolidating concrete (SCC); to achieve the desired surface appearance and have more control on it, a special concrete production facility was installed on site. The horizontal structures are mostly made of black-painted steel beams, sometimes clad with glass fiber reinforced concrete (GRC) panels, as in the case of the roof trusses.

This was one of the first projects for which Zaha Hadid experimented fluid and curved geometries made in concrete, an evolution from her earlier works, like the Fire Station at the Vitra Campus and the Bergiselschanze ski jump in Innsbruck, also made in concrete but with a more “angular” appearance.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but Hadid once told that she was somehow inspired in her approach to concrete architecture by the work of the Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, a specialist of concrete shells who is the author of the “Palazzetto dello Sport” located at short distance from the MAXXI: “He has always had a profound influence on my work […] Nervi’s experimental approach led to revolutionary solutions, especially as regards materials and building techniques”. (from the catalog of the “Pier Luigi Nervi” exhibition, Maxxi, 2011).

The structural concept emerges in the main temporary exhibition gallery, photo © Inexhibit, 2015.

The roof of the new building is actually a complex apparatus, constituted of and upper and a lower double-glazing structures, provided with a sunscreen system composed of adjustable metal louvers; the roof structure also accommodates the artificial lighting system.

Close-up of the roof structure, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Cross section, MAXXI museum, ZHA

Detail drawing of the sunscreen system, ZHA Architects

Collections and activities
As mentioned earlier, the MAXXI is constituted by two institutions, named MAXXI Arte and MAXXI Architettura, respectively dedicated to art and architecture of the 20th and 21st century, with different collections and directors.

The architecture collection comprises drawings, models, and documents related to the work by some of the most important modern Italian and international architects, such as Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi, Pier Luigi Nervi, Paolo Soleri, Giancarlo De Carlo, Carlo Aymonino, Superstudio, Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando and, of course, Zaha Hadid. The collection also includes architectural photographs by authors like Gabriele Basilico, Letizia Battaglia, John Davies, Mimmo Jodice, Armin Linke, Walter Niedermayr and Massimo Vitali, among many others.

Architecture collection: Scale model of the Tod’s Building in Tokio by Toio Ito, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Permanent exhibition: Mario Merz, Triple Igloo, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

The art collection is primarily dedicated to modern and contemporary movements, with paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, and installations by Alighiero Boetti, Pedro Reis, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Maurizio Cattelan, Francesco Clemente, Tony Cragg, Gino de Dominicis, Lara Favaretto, Gilbert & George, Ilya Kabakov, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Anselm Kiefer, Yayoi Kusama, Sol LeWitt, Piero Manzoni, Mario Merz, Ugo Mulas, Juan Munoz, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Thomas Schütte, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, and Franz West.

Permanent exhibition, foreground: Giulio Paolini, Tre per Tre, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Permanent exhibition, foreground: Gino de Dominicis, Statua, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Despite this apparent separation of the two departments, the programs of the MAXXI privilege the cross-breeding and dialogue between different forms and means of culture.
Thus, selected works from both the museum collections are presented together in a permanent exhibition at the museum’s first floor, while temporary exhibitions and activities cover, along with visual art and architecture, also various other creative fields, like fashion, industrial design, cinema, theatre, music, and dance.

Permanent exhibition, foreground: a work by Margherita Moscadini, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Permanent exhibition, foreground: Frank West, Untitled, photo © Inexhibit, 2015


84 photos and 13 drawings

Building Activity

  • Riccardo Bianchini
    Riccardo Bianchini added 4 digital references and removed 2 digital references
    about a year ago via
  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated 90 media and updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated 3 media
    about 6 years ago via