MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts

Rome, Italy

MAXXI (1989-2009) is a contemporary art museum in Rome, Italy, designed by Zaha Hadid, which developed upon Hadid’s interest in the importance of the urban context and a building’s ability to integrate with and improve an existing site in the metropolis. This series of paper reliefs are field studies created at an early stage in MAXXI’s design. Created for an L-shaped site, in which two sections of the urban grid converge at a diagonal, the studies show different geometric and linear possibilities in which the MAXXI building’s form could interact with the specificities of the city layout. 

Flowing and drifting are key concepts to the building’s design, with its dynamic and linear final design echoing the streets outside while allowing for open-ended interactions with contemporary art. Experimentation with different volumes and spatial organisation in the paper reliefs shows the various ways in which the rigidity of the museum space and the archetypal white cube gallery could be disrupted. This interest in exhibition design and the disruption of conventional museum space can be seen in earlier projects such as Museum of the Nineteenth Century (1977-1978) and The Great Utopia (1992).