Little more than a decade after it first opened in 2010, the Maxxi museum in Rome—Italy’s national museum of contemporary art and architecture—is launching an ambitious project to build new museum spaces, become more sustainable and regenerate its neighbourhood.
The Grande Maxxi project was presented on 10 February by Giovanna Melandri, the president of the Maxxi Foundation, the project coordinator Margherita Guccione and the secretary general of the Maxxi Foundation Pietro Barrera, together with the Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini, the minister of sustainable infrastructure and mobility Enrico Giovannini and the minister of defence Lorenzo Guerini.
Grande Maxxi will see the creation of the Maxxi Hub, a new sustainable and multi-purpose building across two floors, including a research and development centre for collaborations between art, architecture and science, conservation laboratories for contemporary art, training spaces and storage facilities. This will have a green roof connected to the museum’s existing piazza and to a new “green corridor” running along one side of the complex. Known as Maxxi Green, it will be used for outdoor activities such as site-specific installations, festivals and educational workshops, as well as vegetable gardens supplying the museum’s café and restaurant. The initiative aims to equip the Maxxi with a “green lung” contributing to the regeneration of the wider Flaminio neighborhood.
The plans are supported by a €37.5m investment from the culture ministry and the ministry of sustainable infrastructure and mobility. The Maxxi Foundation has spent around €300,000 of its own funds on feasibility studies which began last year, and will continue fundraising efforts to involve private partners in the project.
An international competition for the design of the new building and green spaces was launched this week, with criteria published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the Italian government’s Gazzetta Ufficiale and on the Maxxi website. The deadline for submissions is 13 May, with the winner due to be announced on 10 June. Construction is expected to start in 2023 and be completed in 2026.
The Grande Maxxi masterplan will also improve the sustainability of the main building designed by Zaha Hadid, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by installing 3,000 sq. m of solar panels on the roof that will supply around a third of the museum’s energy needs. According to Guccione, the Maxxi hopes to achieve carbon neutrality “within a few years”.
In a statement, Melandri described the Grande Maxxi project as a “natural evolution” for the museum following the Covid-19 pandemic. “Now is the time… to confront the ‘new world’ that must arise from the environmental, social and health crisis and to become a laboratory of the future,” she said.