The project for the building devoted to the new national centre for the exhibition of contemporary art and architecture was selected following a two-part international competition launched by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage in 1998. The winning design was that of the Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, chosen from among 273 candidates from all over the world. Zaha Hadid’s proposal convinced the jury thanks to its capacity to integrate with the urban fabric and for its innovative architecture successfully interpreting the potential of the new institution and equipping it with an extraordinary sequence of public spaces.
The MAXXI design goes beyond the concept of the building-museum. The complexity of the volumes, the curving walls, the variations and intersections of the levels determine a very rich spatial and functional configuration that visitors may pass through via ever different and unexpected routes. Multiple environments coexist in a sequence of galleries illuminated with natural light filtered via a special roof system. The large full height atrium houses the reception services and leads into the auditorium, the galleries destined for the permanent collections, the exhibitions and the spaces devoted to the cafeteria and the bookshop.