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Zaha remains unfazed despite Guggenheim and Maxxi rumours

Zaha Hadid has attempted to set the record straight about two of her largest and most important projects, amid mounting speculation over their imminent demise.

According to widespread rumours, both the Guggenheim Museum in Taichung, Taiwan, and the Maxxi, the new museum of 21st-century art in Rome, are to be abandoned because of funding problems. However, Hadid has hit back at gossipmongers, stating that she is 'not worried' about either project.

Despite reports that the Italian Ministry of Culture has not come up with funds for the next stage of the £32 million Rome scheme, Hadid remains unconcerned. 'We have no idea what is behind this story and we are already working on phase two,' she told the AJ.

'The money was put aside from the beginning of the project and, though it would be nice to move faster on the ground, unless you are Italian and are living in Rome, you can't understand how the system works. The client has been fantastic, but Rome is Rome. It's a different time zone,' she added.

Meanwhile, the rumour mill also started turning last week about her Taichung scheme for the Guggenheim Museum, following the announcement that Peter B Lewis, the chairman and its largest benefactor, had resigned.

Many assumed his resignation would lead to the cancellation of the museum's massive expansion programme and the end of Hadid's proposed Taichung scheme.

But the Iraqi-born architect said she was unfazed. 'We have never officially had the yea or the nay from Taichung for the project, and it's now all about local funding. We are still waiting to see,' she said.

'And if it doesn't go ahead there, there are other Guggenheim projects in the pipeline,' she added.

A spokesman for the Guggenheim was also keen to play down any funding fears. 'There is utterly

no connection between the departure of our chairman and the future of the Taichung project,' he asserted.

'Though the project hasn't happened yet, it is totally unaffected by the resignation, as the museum is not being funded by the Guggenheim Foundation.

'Though we take direct financial responsibility for the New York and Venice museums, the others such as Bilbao and Berlin were funded by outside sources,' he added.

by Richard Waite

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