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National Museum of XXI Century Arts - Zaha Hadid Architects

Project Specifications:


Flaminio, Rome, Italy


Flaminio, Rome, Italy


Ministero Bennie Attivita Culturali – Fondazione MAXXI


July 2008 – June 2011


27,000 m²



Structural Engineer

Alan Jones, SKM Anthony Hunts


Iwan Baan


The MAXXI Museum in Rome by Zaha Hadid, has received the Stirling Prize for 2010, an award given to a building built or designed in Britain or a building constructed in but the rest of Europe by architects whose headquarters is in the UK.

In 1998 the architect won the international competition to build the new museum dedicated to contemporary art and architecture with an innovative project that fit the urban context, a project whose architectural resolution consists of a concrete structure with a glass roof.

The National Museum of XXI Century Arts, MAXXI, belonged to the Ministry for Cultural Heritage Italian, later became founding, and had to follow a long process to completion, constantly threatened with budget cuts, survived four different ministers of Culture parties and various political and economic crises. “It was tough, but worth it”, summed Hadid, the day of his inauguration.

This new museum stands on land originally occupied by an automobile factory and later by the army barracks and only in 2003 was granted by the Ministry of Defense to build the museum. At Via Guido Reni # 4, Rome, Italy, close to the Olympic Village and the Music Palace in Rome architect Renzo Piano


Design Philosophy.

The idea of ​​an “urban campus” is made with a blend of traditional building whose concept is overwhelmed by the interior spaces are expanded to include the entire city…. “I conceived the MAXXI as an urban campus, organized according to directional drift, flow, force fields and density distribution, rather than by key points,” explained Hadid.

The complexity of the forms, and their sinuous contour variation of the dimensions and overlap joint determine a complex spatial and functional structure. Large walls are the most representative of this new building are curved walls that can be used to be exposed in the interior, but also abroad, with murals, projections or installations. All versa around an indoor-outdoor existence. The concept of this project is based on the idea of ​​”water” large urban areas with linear display surfaces, weaving a dense texture of interior and exterior spaces.

With four floors of the MAXXI is full moving through undulating walls and stairs that seem to start or end anywhere, placing the visitor in a futuristic, floating offering multiple possible routes go all the museum allowing bypassing the same way.

Continuity in spaces not only enhances the grandeur of a space, but also makes the area pretty functional for moving around for temporary exhibition for a project like a museum, without any walls or confines.

The design concept of Zaha Hadid was to move away from the concept of typical museums and hence, an attempt was made to continuously intersect spaces and create interior and outdoor spaces simultaneously.

One of the main concepts of this structure is the structural uncovering for modernism. There is no compact volume, there is just continuous space leading to an unending vision. This building sure sets a great example for the modern and contemporary style of construction.

The five gallery suites have a ceiling height of 6m and on the 2nd and 3rd floors, the daylight enters steadily through the glass roof which is supported on steel trusses. The trusses beside includes a mechanism to expose pictures or sculptures that can’t be floor mounted. ( Source:


Material & Façade.

In its imposing structure include concrete, steel and glass. The concrete covers not only walls and floors, but also was used in performing functional and decorative elements such as the lobby desk made of concrete and fiberglass. The concrete is the dominant element in the design of Zaha Hadid.

The concrete walls were treated with a finish “fairface” quality first, to improve their soft, without air bubbles, like the holes resulting from the screws or exposed joints of the spill, rustic least possible, according to taste architect.

Despite the grandeur of its structure, distributed in 29,000 square meters of land of which 21,000 are for exhibition space, and its sinuous forms the building not only integrates harmoniously into the environment, but gives vitality to the whole neighborhood, after a century of military use. In their open gardens lies the Cosmic Calamita Gino de Dominicis, 24-meter human skeleton with Pinocchio nose.

Externally impacting the large rectangular body that protrudes from the horizontal structure and smooth concrete surfaces without windows that make their outer walls together with the floor, the same material, over which pass holes large as 45 meters wide or 20bmetros huge overhang outwards near the main entrance.

The system used on the roof is a particularly complex, both technologically and mechanically. Is formed by an outer glazing, complicated systems with different types of shading blinds and artificial light system, a temperature control system and guides moisture and resistant to hang heavy panels. The air conditioner is in the gap created between the upper skin of the double glazing and lower the glass ceiling.

The vertical blades which characterize the ceiling system are made of steel and coated with a finishing material. The glass is protected externally with a steel mesh that filters the light and easy maintenance. All vertical columns, including columns that support the overhang are steel.


The construction.

The design of Zaha Hadid presents a structural challenge, a structure similar to the galleries, elongated linear spaces with concrete walls and floors made in situ with partially glazed roof that make something of channels with lids glass. Alan Jones, a structural engineer who was involved in the project said that structurally, the building serves as the gateway of a building… “only the floors and walls proportional structural stability, not the ceiling…”

The construction is done on the basis of strip footing. The construction of the museum was definitely a tricky one because of the material and the method of construction. The construction was typically modern style and the walls of MAXXI were cast on site. The structure was not erected on columns; instead, load-bearing walls were used along with steel structures.

The structure also included large gaps had to be filled with reinforced steel bars with density higher than 300kg/m3. By reducing the number of joints was necessary to increase the concrete poured over 70 meters high by 9, a complete plant, which required 260m3 of concrete in situ. The formwork was made in Germany, modular panels of 9 meters long and 2.4 high which were assembled at the site and were linked using lasers to ensure the flat surfaces in the the discharge time. Dumping in these areas a liquid mixture consisted of self-compacting concrete, a fine aggregate of limestone powder and an additive in epoxy resin, which was allowed to settle uniformly by the force of gravity and which was cast around the reinforcement bars.

While the concrete is poured, the formwork panels are controlled to check the protuberances nanometers. Finally, as the pouring of concrete has to dry slowly and evenly, without risk of overheating, had to take into account the outside temperature did not exceed 25 °, in the Mediterranean climate of Rome these conditions can result only from November to April.

Being a prominent structure of the 21st century, the modern and contemporary style of architecture has been emphasized and Zaha Hadid has obviously given her signature curves to the building, which not only makes it aesthetic but also functional.

The museum enhances the display of a narrative of ideas and concepts along the corridor and the functionality of the museum influences the form of the building.

Some critics did mention that the areas provided for the display were not accurate, but the grandeur of the museum comes from there and the area is enough to display large frames and artwork. The construction of the museum is quite typical but carried out efficiently. The continuity and the form of the museum sure look aesthetic but also enhances the function of the museum.

Statement seismic zone:

In 2003, Rome was officially classified as seismic zone, which required that the structure of the museum was completely revised and reformed in some cases. Several sets of hydraulic pistons associated with the motion of the joints should be incorporated into the concrete walls and floors and discarded movement joints 5mm 3mm other less visible, among other measures.



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