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  1. ArchDaily
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  4. Italy
  5. Zaha Hadid Architects
  6. 2009
  7. MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects

  • 01:00 - 16 December, 2009
MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects
MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +25

  • Architects

  • Location

    Rome, Flaminio, Italy
  • Architect

    Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Structural Engineers

    Anthony Hunts Associates OK Design Group
  • Client

    Ministero Beni e Attività Culturali – Fondazione MAXXI
  • Lights And Illumination

    Equation Lighting
  • Year Of Enchargement

  • Area

    27000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. Opening the website of Zaha Hadid Architects, the home page shows the various links of the practice on a schematic plan; it is the plan of MAXXI, Museum of Arts of the XXI century, in Rome. This side-fact indicates the importance of MAXXI among the projects made by Zaha Hadid. The museum was recently completed, after ten years, and opened on preview to the public.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Archdaily was invited to the preview, so it was possible to experience the spaces while empty – the art collection will be installed during winter, the official opening will take place on April 2010 – and have a direct impression of the building. As declared by the architect, the museum is 'not a object-container, but rather a campus for art', where flows and pathways overlap and connect in order to create a dynamic and interactive space. Although the program is clear and organized in plan, flexibility of use is the main goal of the project. Continuity of spaces makes it a suitable place for any kind of moving and temporary exhibition, without redundant wall divisions or interruptions. Entering the atrium, the main elements of the project are evident: concrete curved walls, suspended black staircases, open ceiling catching natural light. By these elements Zaha Hadid intended 'a new fluid kind of spatiality of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry, designed to embody the chaotic fluidity of modern life'.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

This statement of the architect, as usual of hers, brought out the question if the concept of de-constructed fluidity matched with the identity of a “static” city as Rome, and with its classical heritage. The response of critics and public has been positive. Especially in this context, in the relation with the existing fabrics, the curved smooth walls dialogue with the neo-classical symmetrical facades. The new organism includes in its developing the front- side building, by clean and blind surfaces at the side, thus declaring the feasibility and the need of coexistence. The museum is well inserted in the urban block situation, taking from it its guidelines, and opening its cut-end wings as panoramic viewpoints.

Particular attention has been given to the natural lighting, by the thin concrete beams on the ceiling, together with glass covering and filtering systems. The same beams have a bottom rail from which art pieces are going to be suspended. The beams, the staircases and the linear lighting system guide the visitors through the interior walkway, which ends in the large space on third level. From here, a large window offers a view back to the city, though obstructed by a massive core.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

The museum participates actively to the location – Rome, and its first outskirt, not a part of the old centre, but still central. The Flaminio neighbourhood has been interested in the last years by a renovation program of public attraction, the latest being the Auditorium by Renzo Piano. The long MAXXI construction process completes the idea of a renewed city. Moreover, MAXXI is the first national museum of contemporary art in Italy. It will bring a lot of attentions, by public and media, together with economical activities, rendering this museum a central point for Rome, which is in constant look for its contemporary identity.

- Andrea Giannotti

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects" 16 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


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Michelle SV · May 04, 2015

De casualidad sabrán la altura, el largo y el ancho del museo? · July 16, 2014

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click · July 11, 2013

Good way of describing, and nice paragraph to get facts concerning my
presentation focus, which i am going to present in school.

li xing · November 17, 2012

I went to this maxii museum last month after visiting "common ground" venice architecture biennale. to be honest, i like the building scale and traffic flow design of this museum. interesting outdoor plaza, exciting entrance atrium. only complaint is the exterior could use less columns.

inside the museum, there is an exhibition regarding all the entries for this museum competition being held 10 years ago. it was so educational to see all the schemes from the architects like OMA, nouvel and some italian archticts. but when I was trying to find all the competition schemes online, I just can't find any.

Could anyone help?

Mathew Owen · June 21, 2012

From an art perspective I love the twisting stairs in the interior, but I don't believe architecture should necessarily be art. As a promoter of sustainable architecture and green design, I fail to comprehend how this could have been built, especially during the beginning of our great economic crisis. It seems that controversiality in architecture might be a key to fame, to me this building feels sarcastic and provocative. I wonder what we will think of this in 10 or 20 years. Will we admire it as an architectural pioneer for its parametric/organically shaped roots or laugh at its absurdity? Of perhaps we won't think of it at all when its 15 minutes are up.

leonardo · May 20, 2012

la arquitectura de zaha hadid en q centro historico se encuentra ubicado

huda · May 18, 2012

iam an archticet

gusta · April 30, 2012

not that i don´t like her works, but for me, this kind of architecture a little bit too much of everything. too much pointless curves, too much diagonals, too much vanity and luxury everywhere, lights, voids, spaces . where is that elegant simplicity that we learn with the masters?

true Born · March 22, 2012
Domenique Mora · February 23, 2012

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Hellen Izquierdo · February 06, 2012

#Architecture #ZahaHadid // MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily

afolabi oyetunde · December 15, 2011

hw can i be a member

alaa dalleh · October 08, 2011

I like the way she used to relate the spaces inside to outside, even the staircase is unique, its not just creativity it can be an innovation in designing and attracting people to the building.

Tika Laras Kusuma · June 30, 2011

i like it : MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Robin Polm · June 24, 2011

Mooiste architectuur van de laatste jaren: MAXXI Museum: museum voor moderne kunst in Rome (Zaha Hadid).

outrage cape town · May 28, 2011

@futurecapetown I&#39m sure there are many scathing of maxxi. It is still astounding.

Santi Maggio Savasta · May 15, 2011

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily #Architecture #Architettura

sarah · May 07, 2011

very nice

Silva · April 23, 2011

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects via @archdaily

Gerardo Martinez · February 28, 2011

Reading: "MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily"( )

ste · January 19, 2011

best zaha ever... her realised work became boring after they've decided no to use physical models anymore. they started to research about computer aided stuff and are not yet able to translate their abilities in making spatially itneresting spaces into this new way of thinking architecture. but if they manage to implement the spirit and the perfection of this old piece of zaha thinking into their new conceptionally interesting work... then... well then...

verdier architects · January 19, 2011

Impressed with the way the building appears to have movement and follow from the curves. I also like the black staircases with the white walls. This sustainable architects creates contemporary buildings.

Hamid · November 28, 2010

great ????

Michiko I · October 23, 2010

???????????...????????MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Milan Kramolis · October 04, 2010

cool - really interesting stuff - MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Marta Krivosikova · October 03, 2010

MAXXI Museum Rome/Zaha Hadid Architects via @archdaily #architecture

Jinjoo Oh · October 03, 2010

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily via @archdaily

lidia najera · October 03, 2010
Assad Mohammed Ali · October 03, 2010

Another masterpiece of the works of #ZahaHadid. via @archdaily

Juan Manuel Peyregne · October 03, 2010

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily vía @archdaily

Andrew Lazorchak · September 29, 2010

I <3 Zaha Hadid! Via @ArchDaily

Chris · September 27, 2010

A lot of ZH's stuff is a hard sell for me, but this interior speaks for itself. I can imagine her laying down overlapping lines on a canvas, then they become suspended in 3d and create a complex and connected space... would love to visit.

brian reddy · September 19, 2010

I have been ther last week...its a fantastic building!I dont see problem with the scale and it works for a museum. Considering the Maxxi... in Rome!Mrs Hadid made an excelent work, dont imagine other project. Im only an architect who admire every art genius!

Thauan Miquelin · August 11, 2010
naoko okada · August 08, 2010
V · May 07, 2010

That woman got guts. The way she utilized curvilinear lines.. powerful,and provocative... practicality? I don't know. She blew my eyeballs out of my sockets, she's that good.

Faezeh · April 21, 2010

Looking at: "I&#39m proud of her...:MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects | ArchDaily"( )

adelmo vasconcelos · April 18, 2010

e esse museum of arts of the xxi century em roma? eu que fiz. (via @archdaily) #maxxi

Miri Hellen Lanza · April 14, 2010

RT @soulwire: Will have to go back to Italy now the MAXXI museum is complete: Interesting #architecture

Architecture News · April 14, 2010

RT @soulwire: Will have to go back to Italy now the MAXXI museum is complete: Interesting #architecture ...

Justin Windle · April 14, 2010

Will have to go back to Italy now the MAXXI museum is complete: Interesting #architecture

eprhum · April 14, 2010

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects MAXXI Rome ZHA 8339 – ArchDaily: via

sthlm design studio · April 13, 2010

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects MAXXI Rome ZHA 8339 – ArchDaily: via

mohamad · March 19, 2010

Surely this Building Turn to One of Big Sensation of Contemporary Architecture History

stephan eyck · February 21, 2010
up_today_arch · January 23, 2010

She achived the result... I saw her installation in Venice at last architectural Bienalle (it is on my blog), actualy, I did not like that, but it is tesult, it is the step in her life... How many steps you did in your professional life?... OK, please, try to think one or two steps forward than she, you are wellcome!

archilocus · January 25, 2010 12:51 PM

Do you suggest only people with a career comparable to Zaha's should be able to tell their disappointment, and all the other ones should follow like cows? You mean building contractors have more authority to express their opinion because they've done more?
The best theoreticians are not always the best builders, and vice-versa. Critiques make architecture alive, even if you do not agree with them.

PT · December 28, 2009

it's the plans that are disappointing; the spaces are what are compelling. as somebody who thinks hadid is an out of control clown whose proposals are deeply laughable, even i'm impressed. it just goes to show that only really, really good hadid gets built.

mr gaga · December 23, 2009

congratulations zaha: a new master piece. what beautifull exterior volumetry, full of vitality. and the floor plans! exquisito.

domy · December 22, 2009

i really like zis architecture .... zaha always has zis point of view her own style ... it is really nice 2 c zis beautifull architecture ... it is dynamic :D:D

Motsa Blufellen · December 19, 2009

Not always a fan of the swooping, fluid form making by Zaha, but this project looks to be a step above 3d "formal studies". The articulation in the interiors,the ceiling and circulation especially, helps carry Zaha's imperative to movement and exploration inside the building. The scale and treatment of the spaces looks appropriate for modern gallery and performance spaces - and they're also more than a blank box, more active participant in the activities.

NCS_beige · December 19, 2009

classic Zaha geometry..building shape,especially interior so nice.!i found video also:


jsx · December 18, 2009

Real big challenge this project be built in Rome. typical of zaha's geometry, but the better of her others, I think. Personally, I like the concrete exterior. It's very well done, and the building fits the site quite well. However, quite a long stairs. is it on purpose?
anyway, want to see it myself.

daniel · December 18, 2009

all coments refer to the buildings shapes and forms and details . isn't the most important question to be asked "does it work ? does it serve it's needs ? " . the remarks people tend to make are " is it nice - amazing - wonderfull "
to me it seems less important - looking at all these steps - beautiful as they are - and so many of them, seems like you have to be a prety dam good athlete to run these stpes up and down i belive using the lifts will be more popular . and the "snaky" scheme leeding the visitor to dead ends , and we all now how tyring
a visit to a museum can get . to be honest i haven't been there yet but seems to me the architect makes a very hard efort to build a building that makes people take nice pictures of . is this the true meaning of architecture ? . beacuse all the "philosophical" ideas behind this design , which are unclear to me , will turn out to be very shalow down the road of time . Fashionable
architecture in - Practical out . but very nice looking Bravo . i think the true perpose of this one is "Zaha Hadid - Museum "

tseug · December 18, 2009

Nice work, it seems like "Playing in space"

Dag God · December 18, 2009

I can't say I'll take a side regarding the usual Zaha's fans and critics. They both prove a point on this one.

I'll comment other aspects of the building and that is sustainability and functionality. How about the sound spreading or heating during winter in these wast open spaces?

critique · December 18, 2009

The lighting details are great and I love how the staircase seems to float through the space without support. The interiors seem like very nice spaces to display art, however, the exterior is a bit cold, clinical, and monolithic. Perhaps some warmer materials and more appropriate human scaled details would make it more inviting at the street level.

This is much better than I would have expected from Zaha, who of late has been vomiting up an endless selection of fluid renders for dubai, all without a sense of place or design. I thought she couldn't sink any lower when I saw her horrible shoe designs, but this project is a rather elegant expression and its good to see a built project rather than a render.

shadi osyli · December 18, 2009

the aerial view looks magnificent , the smooth fluid shapes between the classic buildings it's really look so great , but the problem of the scale when you get closer i find it annoying , i think if the whole building where in some kind of different level of the surrounding ( -1 or -2 m ) would solve the problem somehow , anyway still a piece of art & i love it :)

astounded · December 17, 2009

I am shocked!
This is a seriously beautiful and refined construction...
look at the open tread staircase that wraps the atrium without ever once needing a column for support!
The lighting design!!! my god!
And the skylight detail! It work exactly as zaha has been describing for ten years: tying all of the museum spaces into a continuous three dimensional field condition.
This is not a simple object building, just look at the interior pictures!
It's far more spatially rich than any of the drawings/renderings/models that I have seen for this project have ever been able to convey.

And for those who anonymously express disappointment with what they are seeing on this page remember:

You are looking a building,
not a rendering!

Have some respect.

Wuxus · December 17, 2009

I really like this Zaha proyect, I think when she works with concrete and more orthogonal compositions it's more much better compared to her work with covered completely with corian!!

tos · December 17, 2009

Zaha is my Daddy!

Cesar Castro · December 17, 2009

Some of the pictures remind me a liquified version of Liebeskind's Jewish Museum. I am not a huge fan of Zaha's work, but I find this one quite interesting. Would have loved to see more pictures showing the way the building faces the surrounds.

Me · December 17, 2009

Some of you don't seem to understend!! It's al flash, it's object design an a grand scale. It shouldnt even be called architecture in my opinion. This being said I think it's a great design :)

mario bijou · December 17, 2009

Bonne et pertinante réponse sur une parcelle somme toute assez difficile…

Andrew Geber · December 17, 2009


i want her to design some homes now

hj · December 17, 2009

great to see more detailed drawings of this project. it's easy to draw curvy stuff in todays/yesterdays software but to bring it to execution is a totally different story.

Em · December 17, 2009

I'm always been skeptical about the quality of Hadid's spaces, but I must admit that the entrance hall, some sections of the galleries and some exteriors of the MAXXI museum are really impressive seen in person.

For those interested in more pictures, you can find our images of the construction site and of the November opening here:

ACTL-ARCH · December 17, 2009

The architects we have to be prudent and conscious of the reality in any sense. The architecture looked in photos is like an intermittent music. It's ingenuous to pretend forceful judgements over some few photos. Anyway, she takes the risks about her works... and she is the one who will always make the mistakes. What about you all, anonymous architects?

archilocus · December 17, 2009 02:21 PM

You think discussing the architecture some commentators are doing make their point weaker? This is a thing coming back often in the comments, and I still don't get it. What do you know about the work of those commenting ?
I agree otherwise about debating from pictures only, but I'm forced to say I've visited other buildings from Zaha and I've always been deceived compared to the pictures. Pictures can look worse, but also better than reality...

fl!p · December 17, 2009 01:53 PM

nice one!

archilocus · December 17, 2009

I'm disappointed in general about all those fluid stuff... They may work from a distance, but the scale is too big to be able to completely get this feeling of dynamics and fluids once you're close by or in the building. Perhaps it is different in real, but from the pictures I see curves rather than motion dynamics.

The feeling of Annonymous is probably right, but the question is rather is heavy, monolithic concrete appropriate to express movement?

marcial · December 17, 2009 02:24 PM

Pathetic coment,
I went to the inagurattion, its incredible, really nice.
you can not make opinions by pictures, this is the first thing that you must learn in the university.
I dont like so much this "style" but this is a great project.

fl!p · December 17, 2009 12:46 PM

you need to see the "thing" first.. you are expecting movement and dynamics from a static picture..

hoosteen · December 17, 2009

anonymous...are you kidding me?
Doesnt do concrete?
finished properly?
You want more colors?

I've touched it...its smooth as silk.
Vitra fire station, beautiful finish...her pavilion, not so much...but I'd be curious to see a building you would consider 'finished properly'.

p4Ko · December 21, 2009 09:02 PM

Cincinnati !!! Awesome... Wha

Anonymous · December 17, 2009

Disappointing...considering how the plans and concept drawings looked....

Probably be better if all the fluid lines are accentuated with more colors as per concept sketches....

instead feels like a tortured/twisted Ando with black intestines....

.....Zaha should stay away from concrete in general...none of her concrete works are satisfactorily... probably run of money too quickly to finished them properly...

stick to Prefab! Babe!

public eye · December 17, 2009 07:19 PM

I don't know about that, anonymous. But Iwan Baan's photos are fantastic. I saw the Maxxi at before. I have not been impressed by this Hadid's work. But when the photographer shows us the right angle with the right lighting and composition, the project comes alive to me. I began to see the qualities of this project like spatial composition,the rhythm of the floors and ceilings, wading through the space in harmony. Beautiful.

fl!p · December 17, 2009 11:30 AM

you sound like you can do a better one.. i hope..

korbanzo · December 17, 2009 10:59 AM

i have a hard time believing a zaha project would run short on cash to finish details...


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© Iwan Baan

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects