One mayor pledges to dismantle Richard Meier museum…

LONDON. The newly-elected right-wing mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, has said that the Ara Pacis Museum, designed by US architect Richard Meier, should be torn down.

The building, which opened in 2006 on the banks of the River Tiber, encloses the so-called altar of peace, built by Rome’s first emperor, Augustus (63BC-14AD), to celebrate the end of the civil war which had brought him to power.

In his first press conference following his election on 28 April, the mayor said: “Meier’s building [should] be scrapped,” adding that he plans to hold a referendum on whether the glass, marble and steel structure should be relocated outside Rome.

Meier told The Art Newspaper: “All those I know who have been involved with the museum are, as I am, extremely proud of the building’s display of the monument that has meant so much to the city of Rome. I have been told that the Ara Pacis is the third most visited monument in Rome…I look forward to discussing this issue with the new mayor.”

The architect was commissioned in the mid 1990s by the former mayor Francesco Rutelli who was defeated in the recent election by Mr Alemanno.

The opening of the Ara Pacis museum stalled several times since construction began in 2000 because of protests by government officials.

Meier’s museum replaced a 1938 building by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, constructed under the supervision of Mussolini. The Ara Pacis was first excavated by archaeologists in the 1930s.

Gareth Harris

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