Pritzker Prize laureate Zaha Hadid’s spectacular National Museum of XXI Century Arts, featuring the first national museum of architecture in Italy, will open May 30 in Rome.
The Iraqi-born architect that New York Times critic Nicolai Ouroussoff called a modern-day Bernini won the competition for the project – out of 273 entries – in 1998. Her winning design incorporates a former army barracks on site into its program. Ground was broken in 2003.
Hadid’s design offers a flexible, interdisciplinary arena for the exhibition of contemporary art and architecture and for live events.
It’s actually two museums under one roof. One focuses on 20th century architecture, while the other is a historical and contemporary museum that mixes the past with the present.
MAXXI art is the first Italian museum dedicated to contemporary creativity. The museum is focused on presenting 21st century art in a wide range of exhibitions and events – conferences, documentaries, film and video presentations, guided tours, musical concerts and dance performances.
Its complexity of forms, curvilinear walls and varying and intersecting heights define a spatial and functional structure for visitors led along unexpected paths. Multiple environments co-exist in a sequence of galleries illuminated by natural light. A full-height foyer houses reception services and leads to the auditorium, with galleries displaying the permanent collections, to exhibitions and cultural events.
In 2004 Hadid was the first woman to be named a Pritzker laureate, following the critically acclaimed debut of her design for Cincinnati’s Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts in 2003.