Cagliari Contemporary Arts Centre
Zaha Hadid Architects

May 14, 2007 /

Cagliari, Italy

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

The aim of the project was to create a node of cultural exchanges that simultaneously will serve as a landmark announcing the arrival to Cagliari from the sea, and answer the five challenges proposed by the brief.

Through the interconnection of the inner circulation with the public paths and the alternation of open spaces and cavities, the building shares its public dimension with the city. Moreover, it geometrically aligns along the axis of the sea, and extends its arms towards the quarter and the stadium of S. Elia, connecting and assimilating itself to the site.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
The new museum is like a coralline concretion, empty inside, hard and porous on the external surface, able to accommodate, in a continuous osmotic exchange with the external atmosphere, cultural activities in a lively and changing environment. At times it assimilates to the ground, creating a new landscape, while at others it acquires a strong mass defining the new skyline.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
The open and dynamic quality of the shape is also pursued inside the building, where the circulation of the visitors through the exhibition, information and commercial paths determine the geometry of the spaces.

The erosion that forms a great cavity inside the building articulates the volume in a succession of open spaces for exhibition, places of aggregation and occasions for installation of contemporary art.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Such spaces, visible from a variety of viewpoints, satisfy the perceptive and the aesthetic dialogue between the contemporary and the Nuragic art. The inner cavity allows the genesis of two continuous skins, one contained within the other. The museum program is placed between the "external skin" of the facade system, and the "inner skin", equipped with a flexible serial system of anchorage and electrification, that allows multiple uses of surfaces/ walls for installations or video projections.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
The communication, contemporary and Nuragic exhibitions, and the public paths crossing the building and intercepting each other, create the fluid structure of the building, allowing a variety of uses and configurations. The vertical and oblique elements of circulation create zones of interference and turbulence creating a visual continuity between the different parts of the building.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
The vital metaphor governing the museum becomes clear within the phasing plans: as with living organisms, the growth of the museum will be self-regulated. It will happen naturally when the conditions of a mature balance between the economic atmosphere and philanthropic and cultural environment are reached.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Phase 1 constitutes approximately 50% of the new cultural centre and includes the realization of the event space situated in the central cavity, the external cave and the vault used for installations, all activities related to communication apart from the large conference hall, all offices, with the aim to start all the necessary activities of management and marketing of the various departments of the museum (library, search and didactics, exhibition, etc), a small but significant part of the exhibition spaces to generate further interest to create a place for the dialogue between the arts over time.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
The consolidation of the museum complex in every new phase transforms the landscape. The second phase is constituted by the completion of the exhibition spaces with other related spaces, including the library and conference hall. This construction, in adhesion with the building of phase one, takes advantage of the existing distributive system, completing it and supplying a new facade on the entrance court.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Phase 3 comprises the extension of phase 2 towards the city of Cagliari. It is an isolated building that accommodates the Research Laboratories. It will be connected to the rest of the museum through a "connecting carpet", in order to offer a privileged site by the sea for performance and the production of the adjacent research laboratories.

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Site Plan

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Plan 1

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Plan 2

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Plan 3

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Longitudinal Section

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Atrium Section

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Gallery Section

Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

Facts about Cagliari Contemporary Arts Centre

Total area:

12.000 m2

Design: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher

Project architect:

Paola Cattarin

Design team:

Paolo Matteuzzi
Federico Bistolfi
Support team:
Michele Salvi
Serena Pietrantonj
Vincenzo Barilari
Samuele Sordi

Local Architect:
Luca Peralta

Nuragic art consultant:

Elisabetta Alba

Environmental sustainability:

Max Fordham LLp, London
Neil Smith

Mechanical and electrical system:

Max Fordham LLp, London
Neil Smith


Adams Kara Taylor, London
Hanif Kara

Quantity Surveyor:

Building Consulting Naples
Pasquale Miele


Regione Autonoma della Sardegna

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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