MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts
by Zaha Hadid wins RIBA Stirling Prize


The MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts by Zaha Hadid Architects has won this year's RIBA Stirling Prize for the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.


The prize was awarded at a ceremony in London this evening.

The building was one of six shortlisted entries - more about each one here.

See also:

Our story about MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts »
RIBA Stirling Prize winner 2009 »
Six movies about the shortlisted entries »
All our stories about Zaha Hadid »


All photos here are copyright Luke Hayes.

The information that follows is from the RIBA:

MAXXI Museum in Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects wins the RIBA Stirling Prize 2010

MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects has won the coveted £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize 2010, in association with The Architects Journal and Benchmark.

The presentation of the UK's premier architectural award took place at a special awards ceremony this evening (Saturday 2 October) at The Roundhouse in London, and was televised live on BBC Two’s The Culture Show at 6.30pm.

Commenting on MAXXI, the judges said:

‘MAXXI is described as a building for the staging of art, and whilst provocative at many levels, this project shows a calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation. The nature of the project means everything has to be over-specified – throughout the design process the architects had no idea what the series of rooms would be used to hang, so walls which will bear a ton of rusting steel might be graced by miniatures.

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 which orientate and excite the visitor and create uplifting 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 as a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line. The resulting piece, rather than prescribing routes, gives the visitor a sense of exploration. It is perhaps her best work to date.’

RIBA President, Ruth Reed announced the winner. Editor of The Architects' Journal, Christine Murray, awarded the £20,000 cheque and Gilbert McCarthy, MD of Benchmark presented the certificate to Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher and Gianluca Racana and client and President of the MAXXI Foundation, Pio Baldi.

Speaking tonight, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:

‘In MAXXI we have a much deserved winner, and I am delighted to award Zaha Hadid Architects with architecture’s highest accolade.’

This is the first time Zaha Hadid Architects has been awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize, having been shortlisted for the prize on three previous occasions (Nord Park Cable Railway, Austria, 2008; Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany, 2006; BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany, 2005).

MAXXI was chosen from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

  • Ashmolean Museum, Oxford by Rick Mather Architects
  • Bateman's Row, London by Theis and Khan
  • Christ's College School, Guildford by DSDHA
  • Clapham Manor Primary School, London by dRMM
  • Neues Museum, Berlin by David Chipperfield Architects with Julian Harrap Architects

The 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize judges were Ruth Reed, RIBA President (chair); Ivan Harbour, architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; Edward Jones, architect; Dixon Jones, Professor; Lisa Jardine, historian and writer; and Mark Lawson, broadcaster.

Posted on Saturday October 2nd 2010 at 7:30 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • betuwill


  • medhat hassan

    we are all arabs all moslems so proud of your achivements and Enlightments my sicere congrats hope you always be the best of the best

  • m0s

    A great project indeed. Could we please see more pictures, it's always the same ones. Thank you

  • My Ode to Zaha. "
    "How many great people in the world art history are known only by their first names? Think of it. Not too many. Offhand I can recall only four. Leonardo. Raphael. Michelangelo. Zaha."

  • ayad dawood

    Wonderfull and amazing

  • jake

    Neues Museum is the real winner. zaha, as usual, has no clue.

  • great work as usual..i wish i was there…and i dream to work with Zaha someday =)

  • We would have never imagined such an award to be won by a contemporary building built in Roma!

    For those interested in more pictures, here is a roundup of our posts about the museum:

  • tom finch

    scale-less, badly detailed, useless at fulfilling its programme, ingorant to its context, same old rubbishbut no surprise she won, it'll probably fall apart quicker than the 90's office furniture it looks like too

  • JuiceMajor

    Oh…I am so very happy for her!! Well done.

    And to all the critiques out there 'In your face'!

  • Murdoch

    @ JuiceMajor: "In your face"? This kind of gut reaction is very revealing of the current level of the architectural debate.
    The jury have clearly surrender to the spirit of the time: the dictatorship of the Spectacle. The public is once again happily swallowing the latest image, and few seem ready to see what this building actually stands for.
    To all of those who applaude and dance around the golden calf, go and see for yourself. This building is poorly built, and utterly unsuitable to the display of art. Emergency exit signs and masterpieces mingle uncomfortably along the sinuous walls; the louvres are shut, and very little natural light penetrates the building; the procession through the various "platforms" is disorientating and chaotic; visitors are merely pushed along the (badly built) ramps, staircases, footbridges, etc…in a sort of nightmarish "digestion" process; external spaces are baren and bleak, etc.
    The list is long, but what is the point of carrying on?

  • Murdoch

    @ JuiceMajor: "In your face"? This kind of gut reaction is very revealing of the current level of the architectural debate.
    The jury members seem to have completely surrendered to the Dictatorship of the Spectacle, whilst the evermore illiterate public (see grammar, spelling, and lack of content in the comments above) is applauding hysterically.
    To all of you who dance around the golden calf, go and see for yourselves. This is a very bad building, that will be laughed as much as the Vittorio Emanuele monument. A bombastic gesture, but poorly built, and utterly unsuitable to display art.
    The "fluid" space results in a chaotic and noisy space, where curators are unable to achieve hierarchy between exit signs and masterpieces…Visitors are quickly digested along the intestinal footbridges, ramps, staircases, to be ejected back on a barren and bleak external space…
    Is being "contemporary" a value in itself? Are we condemned to celebrate the mediocre simply because it noisily shouts its presence to us? Obviously, a lot of architects can't seem to distinguish the true qualities of a building anymore…

  • max habib


  • roma

    never has concrete looked so light

  • Rupalauste

    I have been there! Is so bad and clumsy building. Do you see those pillar? ridicoulous concrete pillar. The building is not even finished according to the original project.
    all the dinamic all the urban relations that was supposed to create are just on a paper.
    The building itself has a lot of problem: acusting, exibition space, circulation and connection. After I spent 4 hours there I got tired and kind of stressed.
    As art space doesn't really work.
    We are still in postmodern era. To Patrick Schumacher who says that we are in the parametricism period…I would really like to ask what he think about this building.
    Wasn't is better to give the price to Chipperfield? more complex and developped project? For sure the pavillion by Sami Rintala that stands in front of MAXXI is much better than the MAXXI.
    I really Hope this attitude and culture of the Show will finish soon!

  • That is what educated IRAQIS can do … as always…from Misopotamia Land ( The Cradle of Civilizations ) …we proud of you Zaha …

  • asdf

    I reserved my comments until I visited the Maxxi.

    I saw it in person. It sucks.

  • Iz

    Article copied and pasted from the official RIBA website. Shame, I thought this website was quite good actually.

    • marcusfairs

      The article clearly states that the text is from the RIBA. This is an old article published at a time when Dezeen had a tiny editorial team, so we published (clearly labelled) press text to save time. We don’t do that any more!