TECHNOSCAPE. The Architecture of Engineers at the MAXXI in Rome


TECHNOSCAPE. The Architecture of Engineers at the MAXXI in Rome

The exhibition Technoscape, running at the MAXXI museum in Rome until April 23, 2023, investigates the relationship among architecture, structural engineering, and technological innovation, all increasingly crucial for our relationship with space and our planet.
There are two main reasons why such an exhibition has been organized in a museum of art and architecture. Firstly, there is the conviction that the current social and ecological urgencies have brought artistic and scientific disciplines very close together. Secondly, there is the impression that engineering is facing new challenges and shifting the field of action from structures that use “traditional” materials, such as reinforced concrete, iron, and glass to more complex technologies that introduce the use of sustainable and unexpected materials, once unrelated to the discipline. A clarifying example comes from the Natural Fiber Tectonics project of the University of Stuttgart (Institute for Computational Design and Construction) which, on display, presents a structure made of linen fiber woven using a robotic technique.

cover image:  Foster + Partners, Eckersley O’Callaghan, Steve Jobs Theater, Cupertino, 2017. Foto di Nigel Young. Courtesy Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Giovanna Melandri, President of Fondazione MAXXI, comments: “TECHNOSCAPE is a manifesto exhibition for us since MAXXI is the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Architecture that Italy one lacked, a point of reference and a debate venue with a global and interdisciplinary scope. The overall aim is to rekindle attention to the themes of urban life, sustainability policies, and the protection of the environment and regions. Because it is in our DNA as a museum-laboratory, we also want to explore and experiment with dialogue among creativity, knowledge, and different techniques”.

Curated by Pippo Ciorra and Maristella Casciato the exhibition consists of two parts: Construction engineering and Technological innovation.

The first section comprises eight thematic areas: modular spans; suspended volumes ; tall buildings ; grid structures ; domes ; alternative materials ; Lightweight membranes. This section is represented by over 40 works built from the postwar period to the present day, often the result of the collaboration between structural designers and masters of architecture such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Jörn Utzon, Louis Kahn, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, SANAA, Toyo Ito , Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Christian Kerez and many others. On display are drawings, models, archival documents, videos and photographs by the author, including those by Walter Niedermayr, Iwan Baan, Ezra Stoller, Leonardo Finotti and Olivo Barbieri, just to name a few.

Through installations created by seven university research centers from around the world -ETH Zurich; University of Stuttgart ; Technische Universität Berlin ; Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology ; Princeton University and e Eucentre in Pavia – this section explores the future of engineering and its increasingly evident shift from the world of structures to that of technology, new materials, environmental action, digital fabrication, and robotics.

from 1 October 2022 through April 10, 2023
Fondazione MAXXI | Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
via Guido Reni, 4A – 00196 Rome |


Walter Bauersfeld – Zeiss Planetarium, Jena 1922. Credit ZEISS Archive.


Pier Luigi Nervi, Annibale Vitellozzi, Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome 1958-1960
Archivio Pier Luigi Nervi, Collezione MAXXI Architettura. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

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SOM, Broadgate Exchange House, London, 1990. © SOM


Toyo Ito, Mutsuro Sasaki, ‘Meiso no Mori’ Municipal Funeral Hall, Kakamigahara (2006)
Courtesy Toyo Ito & Associates Architects.


livMatS Pavilion: Winding detail of the natural fibre component
Credit © ICD/ITKE/IntCDC University of Stuttgart

Located in the Botanical Garden of the University of Freiburg, the livMatS Pavilion offers a viable, resource-efficient alternative to conventional construction methods and therefore represents an important step towards sustainability in architecture. It constitutes the first building ever with a load-bearing structure that is entirely made of robotically wound flax fibre, a material that is fully naturally renewable, biodegradable, and regionally available in Central Europe.
Full article available on this page:

05_MAXXI_Technoscape_Resilient Coasts copy

Resilient Coasts: Forests and Adaptation, for “Technoscape. The architecture of engineers” MAXXI, Rome 2022. Courtesy Princeton University.

Guy Nordenson’s team at Princeton and the Eucentre in Pavia work instead on countering natural disasters. With Resilient Coastlines: Forests and Adaptation, the American team focuses on the effects of climate change in terms of rising sea levels, tsunamis, and tidal waves.
With A world of risks or a world at risk? the Pavia team works on combating the effects of earthquakes, with a focus on our national territory.

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U2 – ILC Model. High-rise made of U shape elements
Credit Anna Mendgen, Chair of Conceptual and Structural Design. TU Berlin

Large and light is the project of Technische Universität Berlin presenting the results of its research on hyper-light concrete, a material of great strength, ease of use, and reduced ecological impact

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