The Museum of the Ara Pacis (Italian: Museo dell'Ara Pacis) belongs to the Sistema dei Musei in Comune of Rome (Italy); it houses the Ara Pacis of Augustus, an ancient monument that was initially inaugurated on January 30, 9 B.C.
Designed by the American architect Richard Meier and built in steel, travertine, glass and plaster, the museum is the first great architectural and urban intervention in the historic centre of Rome since the Fascist era. It is a structure with a triumphal nature, clearly alluding to the style of imperial Rome. Wide glazed surfaces allow the viewer to admire the Ara Pacis with uniform lighting conditions.
The white colour is the trademark of Richard Meier, while the travertine plates decorating part of the building are a consequence of in-progress changes (aluminum surfaces were initially planned), after a design review following controversies with some nostalgia for the previous pavilion that was built in 1938 by the architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo.
The challenging design of Meier wants to assert itself in the very hearth of the town, becoming a nerve and transit centre. The complex was intended to include a crosswalk with an underpass linking the museum to the Tiber river; presently the underpass design seems to have been abandoned completely.