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Enzo Ferrari - A Peek under the Hood

Credits: ©2012 Enzo Ferrari Museum

The Enzo Ferrari Museum complex in Modena, Italy, is designed for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability using bioclimatic principles, innovative materials, a geothermal system that supplies radiant air-conditioning, solar thermal for hot water, natural daylighting and photovoltaic panels. It - perhaps ironically - celebrates the life and work of one of the giants of the automobile design world: Enzo Ferrari. The two main elements of the museum include an organic, modern gallery space and a restored 1800s brick building that was Ferrari's birthplace. The sculpted, yellow, waterproof, gallery roof with its 3,300 square meters of double-curved slats, is smooth and without seams, mimicking a car hood. It is comprised of aluminum double-curved slats and is attached to the underlying structure via 5,000 anchor devices which allow independent thermal movement and an isostatic structure. The distinctive bright yellow roof has ten, glazed incisions, intentionally analogous to air intake vents on the hood of a car, that allow for natural ventilation and day lighting, while taking into consideration the aesthetic values of car design. Yellow was chosen for the roof because it is also the background color for the Ferrari prancing horse emblem and also the color of Modena, Italy. (Scroll to bottom for additional resources)


Museum Enzo Ferrari Support

Large support columns enable sweeping glass wall of the Enzo Ferrari Museum complex in Modena, Italy, that is designed for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability using bioclimatic principles, innovative materials, a geothermal system that supplies radiant air-conditioning, solar thermal panels , natural daylighting and photovoltaic panels. ©2012 Enzo Ferrari Museum

The glass entrance façade is supported by thin, pre-tensioned steel cables that can withstand 40 tons of wind and snow pressure; it is curved in plan and tilts at an angle of 12.5 degrees. The roof’s curve is supported by a concealed grid of narrow eight-part trusses and, at the museum’s ‘receiving’ end, by two massive columns that splay into asymmetrical Y-forms. The result of the building’s envelope construction, devised by Arup’s Sean Billings, is a massive clear volume of light-filled space in which the translucent ceiling membrane spreads an even light from the roof’s ten partially glazed scoops. The technical specification of these panes and cables means that greater transparency in the façade is achieved with maximum functionality. In the summer months a thermo-sensor activates the windows in the façade and roof allowing cool air to circulate.

The curved roof structure drops into a bermed grassy landscape with an edge-to-edge solution, providing an effective contrast to the steel space-frame infrastructure that is based on a static pattern of a segmented, tied arch. The roof was constructed by cladding specialists and boat builders due to their familiarity with organic sculpted forms and waterproofing, using a patented tongue and groove system. The gallery structure surrounds an old house on the site that was the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. Because half of the building’s internal volume is below-ground, it keeps the museum’s maximum height at 12 meters, the same as the neighboring Ferrari family’s workshop and home on-site. The light shell features high thermal and noise insulation, and heating and cooling systems are based on natural geothermal energy. Photovoltaic panels are installed in the sound barriers next to the railway lines.

The Enzo Ferrari Museum was designed by the late Jan Kaplicky of Future Systems and his associate Andrea Morgante who directed the project from concept to detailed design, and was appointed to complete the interiors and oversee the construction after Kaplicky’s death in 2009. The contemporary, organic Enzo Ferrari Museum is expected to attract approximately 200,000 visitors per year, and managed by the Casa Natale Enzo Ferrari Foundation

The whole of the museum’s open internal volume – the entrance area is connected to the exhibition level by ramp and staircase – is visible the moment you enter the building, as are the 21 historic sports and racing cars, set on slim platforms raised 450mm above the floor. At the bottom of the ramp, under the shelf formed by the entrance area, is teaching space, an audiovisual room and a conference hall. Everything, apart from the cars and the yellow pods that contain the shop and lavatories, is white. It will hold temporary exhibits of historic racecars of all makes -the first exhibit had 21 cars, a mix of Ferraris, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos and Fiats that Enzo Ferrari raced in and built, including a 1914 Alfa Romeo 40-60 and a Ferrari 125S from 1947, the first car to carry its maker’s name. This main exhibition gallery also houses a Documentation Centre, an Educational Centre, a conference room, a bookshop , cafeteria and represents an elegant place to exhibit beautiful cars, and a large hall for conferences, launches and cultural events.

Visitors have uninterrupted views into the entire exhibition space - a large, open, white room, where the floor transitions into walls. The stretched, semi-transparent ceiling membrane spreads light evenly across the space, recalling the language of a car interior. A bookshop and café are situated to one side of the entrance and facilities to the other, each painted the same Modena yellow as the roof. A gently sloping ramp gradually leads the visitor around the building from the ground floor to the basement level, with display stands along the circulation path. up to twenty-one cars can be displayed in this open space at any one time.

The Barrisol Stretch Ceiling gallery comprises of 2,700 square meters of Barrisol sheet Blanc mat, and 270 square meters of Barrisol sheet Blanc Venus. The walls of the studio are covered with Barrisol sheets Lumiere and Lumiere color and have images, movies and historical documents projected in multimedia as a permanent part of the exhibition, representing the stages of the life of the passionate creator Enzo Ferrari. Barrisol is made from a strong polymer that can be stretched to shape but once installed will still stay strong. They are 100 percent recyclable and re-usable, and a recycled line of sheeting is made from recycled Barrisol sheets. The production process uses no water and uses 20 times fewer resources compared to conventional building materials.

The House

When Enzo Ferrari was 22, he sold the house where he was born to buy a racecar, and although he failed in several attempts later in life to buy back that house, it is now a museum in his honor. 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 seismic regulations to give structural rigidity, no other alterations have been made.

The main gallery space in the old house is located within what was the double height workshop. Architect Andrea Morgante designed a contemporary exhibition display system that incorporates digital projections, objects owned by Ferrari, information panels and other material. The display system in the house 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 able to gradually discover each page and chapter in sequence. 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.

The following article was written by Jonathan Bell, Wallpaper, March 2012

Enzo Ferrari Museum by Future Systems
The Enzo Ferrari Museum is a bold building that marks the end of two eras. On the one hand it effectively fossilises a structure that is as dear to any auto aficionado as the Vatican is to a devout Catholic; the original office and workshop of one Enzo Ferrari. This architectural reliquary is achieved with the construction of another milestone, the final building by Future Systems.

Jan Kaplicky's pioneering practice never really achieved the technological revolution it promised. When Kaplicky died in 2009, the monographs full of ambitious space age concepts remained on the page, with only a few signature buildings - Birmingham's Selfridges, the Lords Media Centre - to show for it. It was left to Kaplicky's former partner, Amanda Levete, to deftly take the sleekly futuristic and commercially viable elements of Kaplicky's obsessions and absorb them into her own highly accomplished designs and practice.

This final Kaplicky work, won in competition way back in 2004, is the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, €18 million of highly polished auto nostalgia. Described as a 'bonnet', finished in yellow aluminium in homage to Modena's city colours, the same yellow chosen by Ferrari as the background colour to the Prancing Horse badge, the curved roof has vents inspired by the air intakes of his famous sports cars.

Born in 1898, Ferrari made his name as a racing team manager in the inter-war years - principally for Alfa Romeo - before eventually emerging as a full-fledged manufacturer in his own right in 1947. The new museum structure reaches around the original house like an 'open hand', its glass façade reflecting the traditional architecture of the restored offices, now serving as a gallery space.

In the display space beneath the soaring bonnet roof is a collection of significant cars - not just limited to Ferraris - tracing Enzo Ferrari's career from the early twentieth century onwards. After Kaplicky's death, the construction and detailing was skillfully managed by Andrea Morgante, formerly at Future Systems but now at Shiro Studio.

Opened in March 2012, the new museum will become an instant place of pilgrimage for Ferrari's faithful global congregation. But rather than take a one-dimensional view of the company's own output, the exhibits are a welcome overview of the great interwar motor-racing era and its evolution into the road and race cars of the post-war period - the era that Ferrari himself has come to define.

It's only appropriate that the main building of the Enzo Ferrari House Museum, which opened this past Saturday, resembles the hood of a race car. The new museum, located in Modena, Italy about 100 miles southeast of Milan, pays homage the founder of the iconic sports car company. The museum includes the birthplace and childhood home of Ferrari, who was also an avid race car driver.


Ferrari Museum Blog

Enzo Ferrari Museum (Italy)

Shiro Studio (UK)