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water dialogues - grande maxxi, rome

MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rom

campus & extension 

Honorable Mention, Finalist

- with Violeta Burkhardt

Architecture by: Gustav Düsing & Hacke Architects

Engineering: Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, Berlin

Renders: Grau Visuals

The new development of the northern portion of the Maxxi campus is envisioned as a vehicle to place the Maxxi campus at the forefront of contemporary discourse related to sustainability, community, and accessibility in the context of large museum facilities through a series of spatial interventions. This adaptation and repurposing of spaces ranges from landscaping with participatory aspects to integrate the community of the adjacent neighbourhood, to ponds for the reclamation and purification of rainwater and graywater, to a new building whose transparency and accessibility make it an ephemeral and highly active new player on the campus and beyond. The building is designed as a climate machine, from solar energy harvesting and the use of geothermal energy for cooling and heating to a demountable timber structure and rammed earth walls made of clay from the excavation of the underground parking garage.


Our proposal for Building A on the Maxxi Campus site is a large three-storey longhouse type that refers to the typology of warehouses rooted in the industrial past of the Quartier. The organisation of the programme allows for maximum distance from the restaurant, while maintaining views of the church from Via Masaccio. The angled roof, optimised for the use of photovoltaic cells, also creates a distance from the upper office floors of the restaurant building. By opening the front part of the volume through a setback with sliding angle, the ground floor, which houses the innovation hub and co-working space, frames the public part of the campus, leaving the space behind the building for the delivery of artworks and a niche for non-human species with wild natural vegetation. Thus, as an independent volume with its differentiated first floor, the building enters into a dialogue with the museum and becomes an active new player on the overall campus. The stepped building volume is spanned by a large umbrella-like roof, creating a larger form that is subordinate in its simplicity and scale to the formal language of the Maxxi Museum. On the one hand, the directed form of the building fits into the linear spatial organisation of the Maxxi Museum; on the other hand, it frames the conclusion of the square. Facing the square, the large screen forms a covered atrium that is open to the sky. This habitable double façade represents a new type of semi-open social space, while providing effective solar shading for the glass façades of the spaces behind it. This innovative space is seen as a vertical extension of the new greenery on the north side of the campus, allowing the public to access the large roof with its lush hanging garden via a series of green platforms. These platforms serve as a communal space for visitors and staff and are naturally ventilated, making them a pandemic-free space for large events, art presentations, lectures and parties. 

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