Italian officials have selected Tadao Ando's design for a new art museum in Venice, to be operated by the billionaire French art collector Francois Pinault.
They chose this scheme instead of the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation's plans for a new facility; the Guggenheim and Pinault were competing for the right to convert the 17th century Punta della Dogana building. The Guggenheim Foundation, which already operates one museum in the city, wanted Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect, to create a less traditional 'centre of contemporary art'.
The Customs House, one of the best-known sights in Venice, has stood empty for 30 years. It is featured in paintings by Canaletto, Guardi and Turner. As a result of Pinault's success, the Japanese architect will turn the 5,000m² site into a rotating display drawn from the French businessman's personal collection of more than 2,500 masterworks.
Construction of Ando's design, estimated to cost $26m, will be finished in time for the 2009 biennale.