Architectural elite lines up for chance to redesign enlargement of National Museum of China in Tiananmen Square
Foster and Partners and Herzog de Meuron have been shortlisted to design the extension of the National Museum of China in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

The other nine practices on the shortlist include Australian firms Denton Corker Marshall and the Cox Group, Rem Koolhaas' OMA practice, American firms RTKL and Kohn Pedersen Fox and German designer Von Gerkan Marg and Partners.

Under the scheme, the museum will be largely rebuilt and will double in size from 65,000 m2 to 150,0000 m2. It will have 33 exhibition halls and a roof will be built over a courtyard.

The scheme is due to be completed in 2007.

Gao Chongli, the deputy curator of the museum and the director of the reconstruction project, said: "The current area and condition of the museum cannot meet growing needs of the people for spiritual and cultural life. That is why the museum needs to be reconstructed and expanded.

"The content of the exhibits will be much richer once the expansion work is over."

Gao said the museum would lend some of the 610,000 relics it holds to other museums during the construction work.

The museum was created in February 2003 from the merger of the National Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution.

The National Museum of Chinese History was established in 1912. It was dedicated to collecting fine art and antiquities and to carry out research into archaeology, antiquities and a variety of other subjects.

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