The international competition of ideas for a new mixed-use building and green public spaces for Rome’s MAXXI museum was won by a group led by Italo-French studio LAN in partnership with SCAPE Architecture, SNA, Bollinger + Grohmann Ingegneria, Franck Boutté Consultants, Bureau Bas Smets, and Folia Consulenze.
With its masterplan for GRANDE MAXXI in Rome, Italo-French studio LAN set out to combine a well-considered connection with its urban setting, a large and accessible roof garden, and a focus on sustainability and environmental impact. And it was these points that saw it win the international competition for the construction of the new and sustainable multi-use building and a system of amenitized public gardens in a space the museum owns on Via Masaccio. When the competition was announced in early February this year by MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art, four key elements for the project were identified: MAXXI HUB, referring to the new building; MAXXI GREEN, the network of public gardens; and MAXXI SUSTAINABLE and MAXXI ACCESSIBLE AND INTELLIGENT, referring to the key values underpinning the project as a whole.
The final decision, announced by the president of Fondazione MAXXI, Giovanna Melandri, and the architecture director of the GRANDE MAXXI project, Margherita Guccione, was made in favor of the group led by Umberto Napolitano’s and Benoit Jallon’s LAN studio for developing and expanding on the client’s overall vision of architecture, nature, and landscape. From the outset, it was necessary to set up a research and development center to bring together the most qualified people from the worlds of art, architecture, and creativity.
Integrating with the nearby building (which houses offices and a library) and Piazza Alighiero Boetti, the project is an interweaving of simply arranged volumes and different construction materials. The façades, distinguished by asymmetrical vertical and horizontal elements in polished concrete, break up the linearity of the volume with large windows and glazed areas. On the roof, a mirrored compluvium surmounts a garden space. And, as outlined in the original announcement, greenery plays a key role in every part of the masterplan, gravitating around a strip of amenitized urban green space along Via Masaccio that connects the museum’s open spaces and is accessible to the public. The client envisioned this space as a kind of outdoor gallery for hosting site-specific installations and projects by artists and landscape architects, landscape design workshops, productive and sustainable urban gardens, and educational gardens for building a new environmental awareness. Rather than simply creating a decorative addition to the site, LAN responded by designing a green “container” for the existing buildings. Its design proposal was seen as having taken into account the characteristics of the site, ease of management, and actions to regulate the microclimate. It includes a MAXXI HUB square where people can get in touch with nature.
“The relationship with its urban setting, the presence of a generous and accessible roof garden, and strong architectural value,” are some of the reasons behind the decision of the jury, chaired by Giovanna Melandri.
“The project creates a virtuous and efficient relationship with both Piazza Boetti and Via Masaccio, offering high flexibility in its organization of the functions intended for these spaces. Extensive gardens, both in the area of the new building and in the other areas involved, and the use of dry construction techniques are all part of the project’s emphasis on sustainability.”
The jury, comprising Giovanna Melandri (president), Petra Blaisse, Maria Claudia Clemente, Mario Cucinella, and Lorenzo Mariotti, and alternate members Pippo Ciorra and Simone Gobbo, also announced four shortlisted projects: the group led by Vacuum Atelier (Italy), Resell + Nicca (Norway), Arquivio Architects (Spain), and Galar-Velaz-Gil (Spain). Two special mentions were awarded to a multidisciplinary group led by the Gustav Düsing & Max Hacke studio and another led by Nicola Ragazzini.
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Location: Roma, Italy
Architects: LAN (co-author: con SCAPE Architecture, SNA, Bollinger + Grohmann Ingegneria, Franck Boutté Consultants, Bureau Bas Smets, Folia Consulenze)
Client: MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits