Notes to editors
1. For further information and images contact Melanie Mayfield in the RIBA Press Office on 07805 173681 or 020 7307 3662; firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Images of the winning building and shortlisted entries can be downloaded from: http://www.box.net/shared/z3v16b6nkf (Some of the images are very hi-res and may take a few seconds to download)
3. The full building credits and judges citation follow:
MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Client: Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Fondazione MAXXI and Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport
Contractor: Consortium MAXXI 2006, ITALIANACOSTRUZIONI and Società Appalti Costruzioni
Structural Engineer: Studio S.P.C., Anthony Hunt Associates and OK Design Group
Services Engineer: Max Fordham and Partners and OK Design Group
Contract Value: €150m
Date of Occupation: November 2009
Gross internal area: 21,200 sq m
The museum isn’t Rome as we know it, but is all the more exciting for that, locally juxtaposed with army barracks and industrial warehouses, but with glimpses of distant views to Roman roof tops and cupolas. Its suburban context allows it a freedom denied to architects in the centre of Rome.
This is a museum of paths and routes, a museum where the curators have to invent how to hang and place the works of 21st Century art that have been collected since inception of the project – and the century. The permeable plaza recreates routes and connections, but also forces you to consider the new context that is created to engage with the activities within. The whole building is behind a 2.5 metre high industrial aluminium mesh fence which is there to protect the outdoor art that’s planned. Its setting has echoes of OMA’s Casa da Musica, an impression re-enforced by the perched box of an upper gallery with its panoramic window, reached by an array of stairs, ramps and lifts.
The museum, for all its structural pyrotechnics, is rationally organised as five main suites. The building is bravely day lit with a sinuous roof of controllable skylights, louvres and beams, whilst at the same time conforming to very strict climate control requirements of modern galleries; the skylights both orientate and excite the visitor, but also turn them into uplifting spaces.
MAXXI is described as a building for the staging of art, and whilst provocative at many levels, this project shows a maturity and calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation. The nature of the project means everything has to be overspecified – throughout the design process the architects had no idea what these series of rooms would be used to hang, so walls which will bear a ton of rusting steel might be graced by miniatures. In use, in addition to the innovative hanging, video projections bounce off the white curves, animating the spaces.
This is a mature piece of architecture, the distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which ever got built. It is the quintessence of Zaha’s constant attempt to create a landscape, a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line. The resulting piece, rather prescribing routes, gives the visitor a sense of exploration. It is perhaps her best work to date and shows she was right all along.
4. The RIBA Stirling Prize is a ‘built or designed in Britain’ prize, for which buildings in the UK by RIBA Chartered Members and International Fellows, or buildings in the rest of the EU by practices whose principal office is in the UK, are eligible. The RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist and winner are selected from winners of the RIBA Awards – full details can be found at www.architecture.com
5. This is the 15th year the RIBA Stirling Prize has been presented. Last year's winner was the Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and previous winners include Accordia by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Alison Brooks Architects, and Maccreanor Lavington; the Museum of Modern Literature by David Chipperfield Architects; Barajas Airport in Madrid by Richard Rogers Partnership; The Scottish Parliament, designed by EMBT / RMJM; 30 St. Mary Axe by Foster and Partners; the Laban Centre, London by Herzog & de Meuron; Gateshead Millennium Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre; Magna, Rotherham by Wilkinson Eyre; Peckham Library and Media Centre by Alsop and Störmer; the NatWest Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground by Future Systems; the American Air Museum at Duxford by Foster and Partners; The Music School, Stuttgart by Michael Wilford and Partners; and the Centenary Building, University of Salford, by Hodder Associates.
6. The RIBA Stirling Prize is in association with principal sponsors the Architects’ Journal and Benchmark. The associate sponsors are Ibstock and NBS.
6. Established in 1895, The Architects' Journal has consistently been at the forefront of architectural publishing. Its weekly news coverage, comprehensive building studies and in-depth technical and practice features make it essential reading for the profession, and its incisive commentary makes it a must-read for opinion formers. The AJ is the UK's leading independent architectural magazine, whose authoritative voice has informed generations of architects. For more information on the RIBA Awards programme visit the AJ website at www.architectsjournal.co.uk
7. Benchmark, a new architectural business from Kingspan, a turning point in the ease with which inspirational architectural roof and façade systems can become a reality. Created to bring about change in architectural design, the Benchmark product range is the result of comprehensive research, partnership working and innovative thinking that will enable bold new designs to be created from a wide variety of materials, colours and textures without compromising on style and performance. For more information visit www.kingspanbenchmark.com
8. Images of the winners of the RIBA Special Awards can be downloaded from: http://www.box.net/shared/g2dpeyx4if
9. The RIBA Trust manages the cultural assets of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), including the internationally recognised collections of the British Architectural Library. It is the UK’s national architecture centre, delivering the RIBA Awards and the RIBA Stirling Prize (broadcast on BBC TWO); the Royal Gold Medal; International and Honorary Fellowships; a full programme of lectures, exhibitions, tours and other events; and an education programme.