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Guggenheim Guadalajara: Not a Dead Deal?

Rendering of proposed Guggenheim Guadalajara, designed by Enrique Norten

I had somehow assumed that the Guggenheim Guadalajara, designed by Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos, was one of those figments of Tom Krens‘ imagination that had been permanently installed in his Museum of the Unbuilt. But a story in today’s Guadalajara Reporter indicates that in the Mexicans’ minds, this project may be moribund but is not yet dead.

Alex Gesheva reports:

Guadalajara’s Guggenheim hopes may be stymied by the February 27
resignation of one of the project’s greatest supporters, Thomas Krens,
the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation….

The beleaguered Guadalajara Guggenheim project has moved in costly fits
and starts over the last six years, with two million dollars spent on
feasibility studies alone. When Krens originally rained praise on the
chosen location in Guadalajara, he said the museum would be inaugurated
in 2007.

Just last year, Guadalajara City Hall approved the donation of
2.8 hectares of the Mirador Independencia public park on the rim of the
Huentitan Canyon and officials optimistically announced that the
project could be completed by the 2011 Pan-American Games….

Mexico’s government expended a great deal of energy courting Krens,
even somewhat obsequiously awarding him the Order of the Aztec Eagle in
2006. The country’s highest honor for a foreign national is generally
granted for outstanding service to the nation and its people….

The director of the private consortium managing the project in
Guadalajara, Fernando Fernandez, has remained optimistic but recognizes
that a meeting between the Guadalajara Capital Cultural group and New
York foundation management must be scheduled within the next few months.

Some observers have commented that a simple lack of funds is more of a
problem for a Guggenheim Guadalajara than Krens’ resignation. The
museum itself is expected to cost around 170 million dollars, but total
investment, including ancillary infrastructure, could soar to 300
million dollars. At this time last year, private donations in the fund
totaled around four million dollars.

Hope springs eternal, it seems, in locales seeking to become the next Bilbao.

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