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MACRO: a modern building with references to the tradition


MACRO: a modern building with references to the tradition


Speaking about contemporary art museums in Rome, we cannot leave out the MACRO.

It houses a collection of modern art works that the Municipality of Rome started gathering at the end of the 19th century, acquiring the first ones at the 1883 International Exhibition of Arts.

In the following years, the collection was expanded, but went partly lost due to several changes of venue.

The turning point was marked in the late 1980s with the decision to use the former Peroni brewer as site of the Contemporary Art Museum.

During the early 1990s an initial phase of restructuring began. The adaptation works went on and the museum started housing the art collection, recovered and rearranged.

The MACRO building as we know it is the result of an international design competition announced in 2001 by the Municipality of Rome, and won by French architect Odile Decq. The works took place between 2004 and 2010, when the museum was finally opened with the current name of MACRO.

The resulting building looks extremely innovative and able to guarantee dynamism and flexibility. Architect Decq designed the new MACRO following the idea of fluid exhibition areas, as suited as possible to the requirements of contemporary art, and creating a space where art works could be hung, laid, projected…

Spaces are conceived to stimulate walking and movement, offering different prospective and creating series of rooms, linked but also distinct and separate.

The connection with the pre-existing building and with the surrounding context is another point of interest in the design of MACRO. The entrance looks like a glass corner that cuts in a non-violent way the pre-existing building. One of MACRO’s distinguishing marks is maybe the covered square, always open and accessible from two ramps on via Nizza and via Emilia. It’s a raised garden-square that reminds of historic roman squares and links the museum to the tradition of the Eternal City, so much so that Decq planned to place a fountain at the centre of it.

Therefore, the building is well balanced and harmonized with respect to the context; at the same time, with its contemporary language it expresses a great personality. Thanks to the interesting permanent and temporary exhibitions, MACRO is a place that contemporary art and architecture lovers cannot forget to visit.



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