Tue, Jul 27, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Central government urged to fund museum project


Taichung Major Jason Hu (胡志強) urged the central government yesterday to provide the needed funds for the plan to build a sate-llite Guggenheim Museum in the central city of Taichung before it's too late.

Noting that the funds to subsidize the development of a Guggenheim Museum in Taichung City has not been included in the NT$500 billion (US$14.66 billion) national construction project, Hu said that the designer and builder from the US will not wait forever for an answer from Taichung.

Hu said that the Guggenheim development plan has been stalled since last year and that he is not confident the US builder will not turn its back on Taiwan.

Since relevant subsidy budget remained uncertain, Hu suggested that the central government take over the plan and build all on its own the museum in Taichung.

Members of Taichung's cultural and literary circles had called for help from the Executive Yuan in March in an effort to save the Guggenheim project, but their efforts failed to produce results.

Hu said in February that the deadline for signing an agreement with the Guggenheim had already passed and that if the city could not ink the agreement by obtaining the trust and support of the Guggenheim Museum soon, the plan would probably have to be aborted.

Huang Chao-hu (黃朝湖), a spokesman for the Guggenheim Museum Promotion Group in Taichung said recently that it would be a pity if the project were scrapped as the museum's designer -- Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid -- has been awarded the 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the world's top honor in the field of architecture.

In addition to the planned Guggenheim Museum for Taichung, Hadid also designed such structures as the free-flowing Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati; a tram station in Strasbourg, France; and a contemporary arts center in Rome, Huang said.

In the event that the Guggenheim project is scrapped, some city councilors have suggested the city council should use the funds that were originally allocated for the building of the museum to construct a Taichung City contemporary fine arts museum.

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