The man, the myth, the legend

by James Nicholls on Oct 31, 2012 in Architecture , Products
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A monument and tribute to the founder of one of the world’s most famous motoring marques, Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari is also a memorial to design architect Jan Kaplicky

The Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari in Modena opened in March and was built in dedication to Enzo Ferrari, founder of perhaps the most famous motoring marque of all time. Comprising the house in which Ferrari was born in in 1898 and the futuristic gallery designed by Future Systems, the museum tells the story of the man himself and the various manufacturers of the town:, Ferrari, Maserati, De Tomaso, Stanguinelli et al.

The new gallery features a remarkable roof in the style of a car bonnet in yellow aluminium ‑ the colour of the city of Modena and also the colour chosen by Ferrari as the background for his famed ‘prancing horse’ logo. In July 2004, a competition for the design of the museum was won by Future Systems, led by the late Jan Kaplicky, with its ‘Open Hand’ proposal, so called as the new gallery appears to protect and embrace the older building – without overshadowing it.

Externally, the sculpted yellow roof with 10 incisions replicate the air intake vents of a racing car bonnet, but also allow natural ventilation and lighting, paying homage to the aesthetics of the motor car. Internally, the enormous glass wall allows sweeping views of the historic Ferrari house and workshop. The height of the new building reaches a maximum of only 12m, the same height as the house, but internally the exhibition space is vast, with its volume expanding below ground level. Over 50 per cent of the internal volume of the main exhibition building is set thus, and geothermal energy is used to heat and cool the building with piles going some 150m below the floor to achieve this.

The internal aspect of the 19th century building is sparse and pure white, and while positioned very closely to the original building, the new structure in fact does not touch nor is physically connected to it.