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Three in chase for transport museum

Three firms are in the running to build a £40 million Scottish museum designed by Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid.
Balfour Beatty, HBG and Sir Robert McAlpine have prequalified for the new Glasgow transport museum, known as the Riverside Museum.

The contractors have been interviewed by client Glasgow City Council and are invited to presentations this month.

Laing O'Rourke and Mowlem had also been expected to go for the contract but decided not to bid. The museum will be built in the Glasgow Harbour Development,

a 3.5 ha scheme on the east bank of the river Kelvin, where it merges with the river Clyde.

But the decision to commission architect Zaha Hadid, whose offices are in central London, has raised eyebrows.

Architectural critics have described Hadid as the diva of architecture and her designs were described by one as 'brilliant but unbuildable'.

She was hired as the architect for a new Cardiff opera house before the commission was cancelled.

One contractor said: 'Apparently she designs things that are completely unbuildable so it should be great fun. We've got a presentation to go to, which I'm sure will be very interesting and will hopefully give us a clearer idea of what is expected.'

The building will comprise a central single-storey exhibition space with accommodation for offices and maintenance facilities along the two sides. The outline is designed to resemble a wave and the front and back of the museum will be open to create a tunnel-like central space with glass facades. Building work is due to start in the middle of next year and be completed by the end of 2008.

By Andrew Hankinson

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