Enzo Ferrari Museum

by | 15. Aug 2012

Cultural | Feature

Photo © Studio Cento29

Dedicated to motor racing legend and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988), the museum comprises exhibition spaces within the early nineteenth century house, where the motor racing giant was born and raised and its adjoining workshop, as well as in a new exhibition building.


Photo © Studio Cento29

The sculpted yellow aluminum roof with its ten incisions – intentionally analogous to those air intake vents on the bonnet of a car – allows for natural ventilation and day lighting, and both celebrates and expresses the aesthetic values of car design.


Project architect Andrea Morgante on the roof of the building.  Photo courtesy Shiro Studio

With its 3,300 square meters of double-curved aluminum, the roof is the first application of aluminum in this way on such a large scale. Working together with boat builders, whose familiarity with organic sculpted forms and waterproofing made them the ideal partner, and cladding specialists, the form is constructed from aluminum sheets fitted together using a patented tongue and groove system. The bright Modena yellow of the roof is Ferrari’s corporate color, as seen on the Ferrari insignia where it forms the backdrop to the prancing horse. It is also the official color of Modena.


Photo © Andrea Morgante



Photo © David Pasek

The height of the new exhibition building reaches a maximum of 12 meters – the same height as the house – with its volume expanding below ground level. In addition, the new building gently curves around the house in a symbolic gesture of appreciation.


Photo © David Pasek



Photo © Studio Cento29



Photo © Andrea Morgante

Visitors entering the new building have uninterrupted views into the entire exhibition space: a large, open, white room, where the walls and floor transition lightly into one another and are perceived as a single surface. A stretched semi-transparent membrane spreads light evenly across the roof, and in combination with the slits running from side to side which allow air to escape and give a ribbed effect, recalls the language of a car interior.


Photo © Andrea Morgante



Photo © Studio Cento29

A gently sloping ramp gradually leads the visitor around the building from the ground floor to the basement level, with display stands designed by Morgante punctuating the circulation path. These stands lift the cars 45 centimeters so that they can be viewed from different angles and appreciated as works of art rather than objects simply placed in a room. Up to twenty-one cars can be displayed in this open space at any one time.


Photo © Andrea Morgante


The glass facade is curved in plan and tilts at an angle of 12.5 degrees. Each pane is supported by pre-tensioned steel cables and is able to withstand 40 tons of pressure. The technical specification of these panes and cables means that greater transparency in the facade is achieved with maximum functionality. In the summer months a thermo-sensor activates the windows in the facade and roof allowing cool air to circulate. With 50% of the internal volume of the main exhibition building set below ground level, geothermal energy is used to heat and cool the building. It is the first museum building in Italy to use geothermal energy. The building also employs photovoltaic technology and water recycling systems.

Following the death of Jan Kaplický in 2009, the office of Future Systems was dissolved. Andrea Morgante, formerly of Future Systems and now director of Shiro Studio, was appointed to oversee the museum’s completion.  The fully restored house and workshop provide additional exhibition space designed by Andrea Morgante.

The two-story house and workshop built by Ferrari’s father in the 1830s has been completely refurbished. Later additions to the house and workshop have been removed and, with the exception of two internal bracing structures that have been inserted in accordance with Italian anti-seismic regulations to give structural rigidity, no alterations have been made. The main gallery space is located within what was the double height workshop.


Photo © Studio Cento29

Here, Morgante has designed a contemporary exhibition display system, which incorporates digital projections, objects owned by Ferrari, information panels and other material. The display system was conceived as a large-scale vertical book that allows the visitor to read the different chapters of Ferrari’s life through various media; a three-dimensional immersive biography. The system takes the form of a sinuous wall separated into pages, so that as visitors progress down the room, they are obliged to gradually discover each page and chapter in sequence.


Photo © Studio Cento29



Drawing courtesy Andrea Morgante Site Plan


Drawing courtesy Andrea Morgante Plan Level One


Drawing courtesy Andrea Morgante Section


Model photo courtesy Andrea Morgante

At every point the next chapter is concealed so as to maintain interest and create a sense of excitement. This organic landscape stretches through the entire length of the 40 meter long space and soft, low-level backlighting gently illuminates both it and the room, making the space intimate in spite of its size.


CITY Modena
ARCHITECT Jan Kaplický
Andrea Morgante