Zaha Hadidís silvery building resembling a sub-surface ferry or a space ship is the winning entry in the competition for the design of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in the ancient city of Vilnius, capital and the largest city of the Republic of Lithuania.
Although Vilnius is one of Europe's smallest capitals, it has a long, strong and culturally rich history, beautifully reflected in its well-preserved Old Town with cathedrals dating back to the 12th century. The Pritzker prize-winning architect Hadidís futuristic building will be an arts centre and a museum, housing selected collections of both the New Yorkís Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the St. Petersburg- based State Hermitage Museum.
The jury selected Hadidís (Zaha Hadid Architects) design over those of equally famous architects Daniel Libeskind (Studio Daniel Libeskind) and Massimiliano Fuksas (Studio Fuksas).
A feasibility study, commissioned by the recently established Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre in Vilnius, is expected to be completed by mid-June 2008. Depending on its outcome, the museum could open as early as in 2011. By Tuija Seipell