No. 493 . 06 October 2010 
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Hadid - MAXXI - Stirling Prize 2010

by David Owen

In the Flaminio district of Rome, a sinuous concrete building stands on a quiet street. This is the home of MAXXI, the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (National Museum of 21st Century Art).

Designed by Zaha Hadid, MAXXI has received the Stirling Prize for 2010 from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

This new museum, created by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, is intended to engage in a forward-looking dialog with conservative Rome, a city that has become nearly notorious for its opposition to contemporary architectural forms. And Hadid has been both heralded and vilified for the twisting building she designed, over a decade in the making.

In contrast to its colorful, stucco-clad Italianate surroundings, MAXXI is a boldly contemporary combination of concrete, steel, and glass. In a neighborhood where vertical walls and hipped roofs are the norm, MAXXI's form is far more dynamic: against largely horizontal strata of concrete and glass, sections of the building thrust upward and outward as though the result of massive tectonic action.

The Stirling Prize jury called the evocative shape of the building "the quintessence of Zaha's constant attempt to create a landscape as a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line."   >>>

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