Modern Art Museum of Algiers (MaMa)

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Modern Art Museum of Algiers (MaMa)
The project of the “MaMa` (Modern Art Museum of Algiers) is certainly the most daring achievement ever hosted by the city of Algiers since Independence. First of all it is a rehabilitation operation of a former supermarket built during the colonial era; between 1904 and 1912 in an architectural style, typically Neo Moorish. After Independence the building remained dedicated to the same commercial function until the early 1990’s. After the bankruptcy of the company responsible for utilizing it, the building remained without any function and at a total abandonment. In 2006, the Algerian Ministry of Culture decided to organize a competition for making this place a museum of modern and contemporary art, the first one in Algeria, the first one in the Arab world and the second one in Africa. The rehabilitation work began in March 2007 and will last until 2010, but the first phase of the project has been delivered, and the museum opened to the public on December 1st, 2007 after 9 months of work diagnostic built, structural corrections, space re- planning for architectural new order and even restoration with the academic meaning of the term. Several strong actions are behind this metamorphosis from a place of commerce to a place of art: first of all the building has a structure with an atrium at its centre and stages connected by a monumental staircase made of wood. From the ornamental point of view, the building displays many plaster moldings inspired by the architecture of Algiers and woodwork at the exterior as well as at the interior. Three major actions have been undertaken under this rehabilitation; first of all, the floor of the ground floor was put to give the volume of the atrium more depth and majesty. The monumental staircase which was a real item of appeal inside the building before, has become an item for welcome because it was moved at the entrance, this operation required the dismantling of piece by piece of the wood staircase and the metal structure and then reassembling them just 35 meters in the front. The introduction of modern materials such as Inox metal and glass and combining them with the existing traditional patterns is a success, but the most impressive action is the White color, the entire building from the outside as well as inside is white, pure white, neutral, light support, background for pieces and an atmosphere of purity that greets the visitor. Currently the area of the museum open to public is 5.000m ² and ultimately it will be 13.000m ² (during the second phase) .A program of large-scale exhibition has already taken place since its inauguration and already Picasso, Mata, and Maisonseul and many other modern artists have found a spot in this place, which has already hosted over 300.000 visitors.

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