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.