MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Arrival and entrance to MAXXI Museum of Modern Art in Rome. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Central bridges and walkways connect various galleries located off to the sides – perhaps the most captivating experience in the entire museum. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
My favourite gallery space inside MAXXI. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceGallery space at MAXXI featuring the stunning work of the late Italian artist Mario Merz. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
One part of the major temporary exhibition ‘Istanbul, Passion, Joy, Fury’ at MAXXI. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

On March 31st 2016, the world of architecture, design and beyond was shaken to the core at the news that the Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid had suddenly passed away at the age of 65. Considered the most famous and definitely the most accomplished female architect to date, Zaha’s work was constantly surrounded by controversy. Zaha polarised the Architecture world – you either loved her work or you didn’t – there was simply no room for middle ground. I have to admit that I personally fell into the latter category, but I couldn’t say I didn’t respect her many achievements and her extraordinary business acumen. In the fiercely male-dominated industry, she was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She also received the UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 (for MAXXI Museum in Rome, the subject of today’s post) and 2011 (for Evelyn Grace Academy in London).

Shortly after the shocking news of her sudden death, Nick and I were on our way to Rome, and my instant thought was that we had to visit her MAXXI Museum of Modern Art – partly to pay our respects, but also because I was wildly curious to finally experience a Zaha building first hand.

MAXXI Museum of Modern Art was first announced in 2000 after an international design competition and, after an unusually long time in gestation due to funding problems (during which time there were six changes of the national government in Italy), the building was finally completed in 2010 after 10 years in the works. The museum site was formerly a disused military compound, the Caserma Montello (Montello Barracks), with Zaha’s competition proposal envisaging the construction of five new structures, only one of which has actually been built.

Considered as one of the last (if not THE last) ‘Zaha’ Zaha Hadid building – i.e. personally designed by her through her paintings and models, rather than by a team of fresh faced AA-grads under remote supervision – the MAXXI has been acclaimed by The Guardian as “Hadid’s finest built work to date” and a masterpiece fit to sit alongside Rome’s ancient wonders.

 

Related Post: #YellowtraceTravels: Rome, Italy.
See all other #YELLOWTRACETRAVELS posts.

 

Team Yellowtrace have flown to Rome courtesy of Cathay Pacific, who fly to Italy (Rome & Milan) daily. Cathay’s great connections from Australia allow getting from Sydney to Italy in under 25 hours, including transit times. For more information visit cathaypacific.com.au.

 

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceDana Tomic Hughes at MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Spectacular vistas to main reception space from three levels above. And yours truly on the right – had to commemorate the occasion as I was literally dressed to match the building – black & white, with accents of red (hair). Hilarious. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Inside the gallery space situated in the cantilevered box seen in the very top image from the outside. Beautiful framed view of the surrounding Roman buildings is a lovely contrast with the highly contemporary space. Standing against the tilted glass facade was quite an experience in itself (note – don’t do this if you suffer vertigo as you might want to puke). Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Nick Hughes at MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Dana Tomic Hughes | YellowtraceDana Tomic Hughes at MAXXI Museum Rome by Zaha Hadid. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Highly grown-up His & Hers response to ‘Two Rainbows’ installation made with neons by Turkish artist Sarkis, part of the exhibition ‘Istanbul, Passion, Joy, Fury’. LOLS. Photography © Nick Hughes & Dana Tomic Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

There are loads and loads of interesting texts written about this building which you can look up if you’re keen for more facts and hard-core archi-talk. What I simply wanted to share with you today were some of Nick’s images taken during our visit as I think it’s quite interesting to see this building in it’s occupied state. Most of the shots I’ve seen were taken soon after practical completion when none of the art/ furniture/ signage were yet installed.

So what did I think…? Well… Like I said, I was never a massive fan of Zaha’s work, so I was – of course – going to be effected in my opinion, as much as I sincerely tried to distance myself from my own preconceived ideas.

On first impression, the typology of MAXXI’s built form felt much more suited to an airport terminal, or a high-tech factory, rather than a building crafted for exhibiting art, and therefore a place of reflection and repose. Having said that, the provocative shape of the building also felt exciting, confident and brave. I also felt that the interior was far more successful than the exterior (although not everywhere), giving the visitor a lovely sense of exploration.

I posted an image on Instagram moments after our visit which probably best sums up my thoughts about this building. (Ummm… Am I, like, a complete tosser to quote myself here? Stuff it, I’m doing it anyway!)

“I can’t say I knew Zaha at all, but this building felt to me just like I imagine the late architect would’ve been like in person – memorable, in moments quite spectacular, but at the same time rather hard, cold and intimidating. I sincerely hope it wasn’t the industry that amplified these qualities in her. Love it or not, herself and her work have completely changed the face of architecture for future generations. Respect.”

 

Related Story: #YellowtraceTravels: Rome, Italy.
See all other #YELLOWTRACETRAVELS posts.

 

 

Team Yellowtrace have flown to Rome courtesy of Cathay Pacific, who fly to Italy (Rome & Milan) daily. Cathay’s great connections from Australia allow getting from Sydney to Italy in under 25 hours, including transit times. For more information visit cathaypacific.com.au.

 

 


[Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
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Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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