The "Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci" was opened in 1988 and donated to the city of Prato by Enrico Pecci, in memory of his son who died at an early age. The museum is situated on the periphery of Prato, near the exit of the A11 highway, a strategic spot where, from the first floor, you can see the skyline of Florence, the city where tourism and ancient culture reign. On this spot however, two opposites dominate: (the textile) industry and modern art. The art center is one of the few museums in Italy that is devoted to modern art and furthermore, that possesses a superb collection which, for lack of exhibition space, is stored in various depots. To be able to display the invisible works of art it was decided to double the exhibition space and to solve two important problems with the new construction.
One problem is that it is not possible to make a tour around the museum; the linear route only allows for one to take the same way back. The other problem is that the entrance is difficult to find. Similar to the imperial palace in Tokyo, it is highly visible, but inaccessible. The first problem was solved by creating a circular plan on the first floor, where all current exhibition rooms are located, in such a way that several tours can be made. The second problem was solved by situating all public services on the ground floor and by explicitly orienting the main entrance toward the street.
As opposed to the rather rigid, mechanical character of the existing museum building, partly inspired by the industrial textile markets in Prato, the new part looks fluid and ecstatic. It embraces the existing building and touches it only where needed for the circular plan. Because the cross section of the exhibition floor constantly changes, within the interior different spaces with different atmospheres come into being, and thus different exhibition possibilities. The tower is a story on its own. It is a crossing between a horn and a feeler, on the one side it is a weapon that is proudly presented to the visitors and passers-by, and on the other side the tower senses conditions that are immeasurable for radars and people, it gauges the cultural mood, in search of new movements.