New builds in Rome have to negotiate a mountain of cultural baggage – just ask Richard Meier – so the imminent unveiling of Zaha Hadid’s new National Museum of XXI Century Arts should provide grandstand seats for those who like major culture clashes.

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In fairness, no one commissions Hadid without expecting fireworks, and the MAXXI, as it’s been known since the project was kick-started a decade ago, certainly doesn’t disappoint. The low-level building – designed to house exhibition space for the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities – snakes its way through a collection of existing industrial structures. The architects call this bundle of sinuous concrete forms a ’quasi-urban field,’ as opposed to a conventional building, a space through which the viewer drifts, almost at random.