Public space | Landscape
MAXXI & MOMA Foundation
FIRST PRIZE - YAP-MAXXI 2011
International competition on selection for the promotion of young architects
under 35 in Europe
Winner of the YAP MAXXI Award, WHATAMI is a temporary public space designed to host the summer programme activities of MAXXI Museum in Rome: an urban beach for leisure and free time, open 24 hours a day, for citizens and visitors.
WHATAMI is an archipelago of an imaginary sea made up of mobile-green islands that are freely placed on the outdoors of the Museum, according to different needs and uses.
It stretches along the concrete surface, or flows back, in its closed form, within the area identified by the competition.
WHATAMI is the corruption of “What am I”: the industrial declination of the first puzzle invented in the 18th century for fun-learning by John Spilsbury, which could be dismounted along the geographic boundaries of landmasses and mountain ranges. A compositional game that is also a tribute to the geographical maps of Alighiero Boetti, whom is dedicated to the square of MAXXI.
The abstract white concrete floor of the square is overlapped by a complex topography formed by the union of a large fixed green hill with mobile islands which, like pieces of a puzzle, animate and articulate the longitudinal space in front of the museum. The result is a dreamlike landscape composed of different elements: the green hills next to the water, the wooden seats, and the large artificial “flowers” which provide shade during the day and light at night.
The largest hill, designed to resolve the site topography , serves as a natural stalls area from which to admire concerts or other events held in the square. At the same time, the position of the seats creates intimate spaces for sociability where people can meet, rest or simply admire the museum.