Zaha Hadid Wins Competition to Develop Design for Proposed Museum in Vilnius

Zaha Hadid Wins Competition to Develop Design for Proposed Museum in Vilnius

A jury of six members today announced that Zaha Hadid, London, has won the architectural competition to develop a design for a proposed museum in Vilnius, Lithuania. The architectural competition is part of a feasibility study undertaken by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and The State Hermitage Museum. The directors of both institutions participated in the jury selection process.

In addition to Zaha Hadid Daniel Libeskind, New York, and Massimiliano Fuksas, Rome, submitted designs for the proposed project.

"The creation of the new center of contemporary and media art in Vilnius would be an important phenomenon in European cultural life," said Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum. "We are honored that The State Hermitage Museum is participating in such a significant undertaking. The project in Vilnius would be an excellent complement to the programme we have recently developed exhibiting contemporary art at the Hermitage."

Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said, "Lithuania has set its sights on becoming a premier international center of art. We can think of no better institutions -- The State Hermitage and the Guggenheim Foundation -- to help guide us in this project. Their participation on our jury has led to selecting Zaha Hadid to design the new venue, which we believe will best enable our capital city of Vilnius to achieve this goal."

An exhibition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, entitled "Imagining the Future: Design Proposals for a New Museum in Vilnius" will open to the public on April 10th at the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center in Vilnius and will allow visitors to view the works of all three architects who competed for the project.

The Architectural Competition and Jury
The architectural competition is part of a study to explore the feasibility, from an architectural, economic, and cultural perspective, of establishing a world-class museum in Vilnius. The study includes programming recommendations for the proposed museum and a market study and economic impact analysis. The museum site is located in a large public green space on the banks of the Neris River, centrally located between the old and new centers of the city.

The feasibility study was commissioned by the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, a public establishment founded by the city of Vilnius. The study is being conducted by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and The State Hermitage Museum. An international consulting firm was engaged to conduct the market study and economic impact analysis. An international engineering firm performed the site analysis and provided detailed technical analyses for the three competing designs. It is anticipated that the study will be completed in the summer of 2008.

Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Foundation said, "Ever since our first meeting, I have been continually impressed with the determination of the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center and city officials to put Vilnius on the world's cultural map. The extraordinary Fluxus collection of the Mekas Center would provide a strong foundation for a world-class museum focusing on contemporary and new media art. Selecting an internationally renowned architect to design the museum is the first critical step in realizing this ambitious project. The Guggenheim is delighted to lend its guidance and expertise in this process."

The jury that selected the winning design was comprised of the following members:

Mikhail Piotrovsky - Director of the State Hermitage Museum
Thomas Krens - Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Peter Schmal - Director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum
Gediminas Kirkilas - Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania
Juozas Imbrasas - Mayor of the City of Vilnius
Gintaras Caikauskas - Vice-Chairman of the Architects' Association of Lithuania

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