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Planned Paul Klee Centre "the chance of the century" for Berne

Architect Renzo Piano unveils preliminary plans for the Klee Centre


Plans to build a cultural centre in Berne which will house over 4,000 paintings by Paul Klee are on schedule and the building is expected to be inaugurated in 2005.

In a progress report on the SFr115 million project, the city's chief planning officer, Adrian Guggisberg, said the future Paul Klee Centre offered Berne "the chance of the century" because it was destined to become one of Europe's leading art museums, and because of the number of visitors it would attract.

The building is being designed by the Italian architect, Renzo Piano, as "a landscape sculpture" with three sections resembling small hills which blend with the site on which they are built.

When complete it will house the world's biggest collection of works by Klee, who was born near Berne and lived there for most of his life. He died in 1940.

Many of the paintings in the projected centre have been donated by the Klee family. For the financing, a retired Berne professor, Maurice Müller and his wife Martha are donating SFr40 million as well as land valued at SFr10 million.

The remainder of building and maintenance costs will come from the city and canton of Berne, the Klee Foundation and private sponsorship.

Building work is schedule to start within the next two years after the final go-ahead for the project is given by the local electorate.

by Richard Dawson

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