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Piano to build next to Corb's Ronchamp

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Renzo Piano is to take on what will be surely one of the most extraordinary commissions of his career - designing a new convent in the grounds of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp chapel.

The Italian architect will design the new building as part of a bid by those who run the Modern masterpiece to return a sense of 'holiness' to the area, which is often over-run by tourists.

It is understood the convent will find a home to the north of the site, 'near the bell tower'.

In Modernist terms, it would be hard to find a more sensitive site than adjacent to the chapel, which is considered one of the Swiss master's finest schemes.

The new building will house 12 nuns. Although it us understood that Piano has drawn up some concept sketches these are yet to be made public.

The convent is part of an effort to return the site to a place of serenity, which is how it was designed.

But the noise from the architectural debate that will break out when Piano's proposals are unveiled is sure to be almost overwhelming.

by Ed Dorrell

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