The final 20 percent of funding needed to build a proposed US$400 million Guggenheim Museum in Taichung may be approved this week, said Thomas Krens, director of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation in New York.
"We're expecting approval of the final 20 percent from the city council by the end of this week," Krens said during a symposium of the Business Committee for the Arts, a New York-based nonprofit organization.
"This project actually could be under construction as early as the end of 2004,'' he said.
The museum in Taichung would expand the Guggenheim's international scope. In addition to Bilbao, the Guggenheim Foundation has created satellite museums in Las Vegas, Nevada, Venice, Italy and Berlin, Germany.
The museum, designed by Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-born architect based in London, would be 119,600m2.
That is the same siz as the Guggenheim Bilbao, a stainless-steel structure by architect Frank Gehry that is a tourist attraction in the Basque region of Spain.
"It's like nothing I've ever seen," Krens said of Hadid's design. "It's a brand new vocabulary for museum architecture."
Premier Yu Shyi-kun said last month that his government would fund 80 percent of the project to as much as NT$5 billion.
Plans for the Taiwanese museum are in the preliminary stages, Anthony Calnek, a Guggenheim spokesman, said.
"We're in the middle of the feasibility study period still," he said. "And the next step is a negotiation between the two parties."
The Guggenheim Foundation also has plans to build a branch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In April, Mayor Cesar Maia agreed to pay the foundation US$32.7 million to develop a US$250 million museum on Rio's waterfront designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
However, in June, a Brazilian court blocked construction of the museum after opponents filed a lawsuit.
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