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Muf 'still on board Dome project', says organiser

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All-women architect group Muf is still working on the Millennium Dome project, said the organiser, despite rumours that the firm may quit the job.

Liza Fior, Juliette Bidgood and Katherine Clarke were appointed, along with Zaha Hadid and Eva Jiricna, as one of only three firms of architects working on the inside of the dome. At a conference on millennium projects, held by the Academy Forum in London this week, former creative director Stephen Bayley said he did not know how much longer the team would continue working on the project, or indeed if it was still involved. A New Millennium Experience spokesman said the firm was still under contract, though it had yet to be decided which aspect of the programme it would undertake.

The apparently rocky relationship between Muf and NME, organiser of the exhibition, is echoed in the debate over the Jiricna pavilion devoted to the spirit. Arguments are ongoing over detailed aspects of the design, from a ban on a pyramidal point (too New Age), to the question of whether there should be specific Christian elements in the design.

Bayley savaged the 'focus group' values adopted for the Dome programme, condemned the lack of major design and artistic talent being employed on the project, and criticised the 'neurotic secrecy' surrounding it. 'The programme must be driven by creative people, ' he declared. He cited ideas such a 'water rides on divan beds to sound of airport music', and 'dioramas of sunsets over the Serengeti' as evidence that the 'highest artistic standards' had been rejected.

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