Future Systems for Modena

Modena seems to be recovering its pluck as a city that is open to contemporary architecture, after the recent post-modern saga that made Frank Gehry refuse to do a minor project there, badgered as he was by the hopeless controversy raised against him by conservatives. Text by Stefano Casciani

Winning the competition for the Museo Casa Natale Enzo Ferrari and a new Maserati Museum, Jan Kaplicky and Amanda Levete’s London office designed a project that seems to anticipate becoming a new landmark and attract visitors from all over the world. Without compromising the futuristic and organic vein of its architectural poetry, Future Systems’ intention is to pay a tribute to the suburban context where the two museums will be located. Their proposal for the Maserati building, despite its formal showiness, “emerges” from the land instead of being erected upon it. The house where the creator of the most famous sports legend of the world was born and raised, will be kept intact and contain a simple educational exhibit.

The jury’s discussions were intense. Its members were Pierluigi Cerri (President); Stefano Casciani (Domus); Piero Ferrari (Ferrari Maserati Group); the mayor of Modena, Giorgio Pighi; Mauro Tedeschini (President of the Casa Natale Enzo Ferrari Foundation and Editor of Quattroruote), Sergio Pininfarina, Antonio Ghini (representing Luca Cordero di Montezemolo for the Ferrari Maserati Group), Pio Baldi (Head of DARC at Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage) and Giorgio Boni (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena).

The submitted projects were all high-level and in some ways represented the wide spectrum of positions that cohabit in architecture today. From the drama of the glass cage spectacularly decked out by François Confino, to the illusionism of urban building proposed by Cino Zucchi; from Sauerbruch and Hutton’s politely coloured minimalism to the speed-driven transparency conceived by Massimo Iosa Ghini. Mario Cucinella’s project was stretched to the limits of experimentation, imagining a great glass cover underneath which the Ferrari House and the Maserati Museum would have been the man attractions of a theme park with an idyllic microclimate. Aldo Cibic submitted a technological/bucolic metaphor, inserting an actual vineyard in between the two museums. Mathias Klotz designed a small complex of neo-modernist buildings marked by a large ramped walkway under which the historical Maserati automobile exhibit would be located.

Those who are interested in knowing more about the projects have the following two opportunities: the Bit trade show in Milan, where the winning project will be shown (February 12 – 15), and the Palazzo Santa Margherita in Modena, where all the participants’ projects will be shown (February 18 – March 8). Stefano Casciani

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