Architectural Concept and Urban Strategy: Staging the Field of Possibilities

The MAXXI design addresses the question of its urban context by maintaining an indexicality to the former army barracks. This is in no way an attempt at topological pastiche, but instead continues the lowlevel urban texture set against the higher level blocks on the surrounding sides ofthe site.

In this way, the Centre is more like an ‘urban graft’, a second skin to the site. At times, it affiliates with the ground to become new ground, yet also ascends and coalesces to become massivity where needed. The entire building has an urban character: prefiguring upon a directional route connecting the River to Via Guido Reni, the Centre encompasses both movement patterns extant and desired, contained within and outside.

This vector defi nes the primary entry route into the building. By intertwining the circulation with the urban context, the building shares a 7 dimension with the city, overlapping tendril-like paths and open space. In addition to the circulatory relationship, the architectural elements are also geometrically aligned with the urban grids that join at the site. In thus partly deriving its orientation and physiognomy from the context, it further assimilates itself to the specifi c conditions of the site.

Space Vs Object

The design offers a quasi-urban fi eld, a world” to dive into rather than a building as signature object.The Campus is organised and navigated on the basis of directional drifts and the distribution of densities rather than key points. This is indicative of the character of the Centre as a whole: porous, immersive, a field space. An inferred mass is subverted by vectors of circulation.

The external as well as internal circulation follows the overall drift of the geometry. Vertical and oblique circulation elements are located at areas of confl uence, interference and turbulence. The move from object to fi eld is critical in understanding the relationship the architecture will have to the content of the artwork it will house. Whilst this is further expounded by the contributions of our Gallery and Exhibitions Experts below, it is important here to state that the premise of the architectural design promotes a disinheriting of the ‘object’ orientated gallery space. Instead, the notion of a ‘drift’ takes on an embodied form.

The drifting emerges, therefore, as both architectural motif, and also as a way to navigate experientially through the museum. It is an argument that, for art practice is well understood, but in architectural hegemony has remained alien. We take this opportunity, in the adventure of designing such a forward looking institution, to confront the material and conceptual dissonance evoked by art practice since the late 1960’s. The path lead away from the ‘object’ and its correlative sanctifying, towards fi elds of multiple associations that are anticipative of the necessity to change.

source: Office web