Zaha Hadid Wins Competition to Design Proposed Museum in Vilnius

Zaha Hadid Wins Competition To Develop Design For Proposed Museum In Vilnius


(VILNIUS – April 8, 2008) Today a jury of six members announced that Zaha Hadid, London, won the architectural competition in developing a design for a proposed museum in Vilnius. The architectural competition is part of a feasibility study undertaken by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and The State Hermitage Museum. The directors of both institutions participated in the jury selection process.

In addition to Zaha Hadid, architects Daniel Libeskind, New York, and Massimiliano Fuksas, Rome, also submitted designs for the proposed project.


Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas remarked that Vilnius “has set its sights on becoming a premier international center of art. We can think of no better institutions -- The State Hermitage and the Guggenheim Foundation -- to help guide us in this project. Their participation on our jury has led to selecting Zaha Hadid to design the new venue, which we believe will best enable our capital city of Vilnius to achieve this goal.”


An exhibition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, entitled “Imagining the Future: Design Proposals for a New Museum in Vilnius” will open to the public on April 10th at the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center in Vilnius, and will allow visitors to view the works of all three competing architects. 

To download press images of Zaha Hadid's winning design, and the designs of Daniel Liebeskind and Massimilliano Fuksas, visit Enter user name '' and password 'press'.


Zaha Hadid Was born in Baghdad in 1950 and studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London . Following her graduation in 1977, she became a partner in the Avant-Garde Office for Metropolitan Architecture in London. Two years later she opened the independent practice, Zaha Hadid Architects. Through her London-based firm, Hadid’s artistic visions were transformed into architectural masterpieces worldwide. In 2004, Hadid won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, making her the first (and thus far, the only) woman to have earned this prestigious award. Other significant honors include being named as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and Commander of the British Empire. She has held chairs and professorships at institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, and the Hochschule für Bildende Künst, Hamburg. Hadid has participated in several research-based competitions, winning awards for urban master plans and building designs in China, Malaysia,the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The Architectural Competition and Jury
The competition is part of a study to explore the feasibility from an architectural, economic, and cultural perspective of establishing a world-class museum in Vilnius . The study includes programming recommendations, market studies, and an economic impact analysis for the new museum. The museum site is centrally located in a large public green space on the banks of the Neris River, between the old and new centers of Vilnius.

The feasibility study was commissioned by the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, a public establishment founded by the city of Vilnius. This study is currently being conducted by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and The State Hermitage Museum. An international consulting firm was asked to conduct the market study and economic impact analysis. An international engineering firm performed the site analysis and provided detailed technical analysis for the three competing designs. It is anticipated that the study will be completed in the summer of 2008.

Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Foundation said, “Ever since our first meeting, I have been continually impressed with the determination of the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center and city officials to put Vilnius on the world’s cultural map. The extraordinary Fluxus collection of the Mekas Center would provide a strong foundation for a world-class museum focusing on contemporary and new media art. Selecting an internationally renowned architect to design the museum is the first critical step in realizing this ambitious project. The Guggenheim is delighted to lend its guidance and expertise in this process.”

The jury that selected the winning design was comprised of the following members:
Mikhail Piotrovsky – Director of the State Hermitage Museum
Thomas Krens – Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Peter Schmal – Director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum
Gediminas Kirkilas – Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania
Juozas Imbrasas – Mayor of the City of Vilnius
Gintaras Caikauskas – Vice-Chairman of the Architects’ Association of

Mekas Visual Arts Center
The City Council of Vilnius, Lithuania established the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center (JMVAC) on February 19, 2007. The mission of the JMVAC is to promote the avant-garde along all avenues to diverse audiences. JMVAC’s permanent collection concentrates on two prolific artists: distinguished avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas, and George Maciunas, impresario and “Chairman” of the international Fluxus art movement. This collection will form the core of the new museum.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation currently administers a global network of museums and exhibition spaces around the world. These are the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; and the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas. The Guggenheim Foundation is also building a new museum in Abu Dhabi, designed by Frank Gehry, and is scheduled for completion in 2012-2013.

The State Hermitage Museum
With partnering institutions in five countries, the State Hermitage Museum has one of the world’s largest and most encyclopedic art collections numbering more than three million objects. Recently, the Hermitage launched a new initiative Hermitage 20/21 that will bridge the gap between the museum’s historic collection and the expansive field of international and contemporary art.


Rasa Razgaitis Project Manager
Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center
Mobile Tel. +370.612.18240 or +370.655.29299

Elena Getmanskaya, Ph.D. (Press Manager)
State Hermitage Museum 34,
Dvortsovaya naberezhnaya St. Petersburg , 190000 Russia
+7 812 710 9502
+7 812 312 1567 fax

Eleanor R. Goldhar Deputy Director, External Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum Tel.: 212 423-3840

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