Isosaki for his part does not seem prepared to retouch the design: a loggia with a steel and glass structure clad in serena bluish sandstone (which Sgarbi has compared to the "springs of a large mattress"), and for which 13 and a half billion italian lire have been allocated: split between the City Council and the Ministry. Or at any rate, he is not prepared to distort that project. "We have spoken several times with the inspector for Florence’s museums, Antonio Paolucci, and with the Florence City Council. The decision was to go ahead with the original project, about which they are enthusiastic", stated the Japanese architect, who is also engaged on redesigning the square in front of the building.
Meanwhile the Minister for Cultural Affairs, Giuliano Urbani, tried to intervene during his last visit to Florence in late February, when he promised to unfreeze the situation quickly. The upshot is that whilst the opening set for 2003 looks increasingly remote, Isozaki, the winner of a regular competition in 1998, might even claim damages and start international proceedings. These would not involve the Comune, who are fully agreed on the start of construction and have always maintained a consistent, correct and transparent attitude.
It is not the first time Sgarbi has gone out of his way to torpedo contemporary architects summoned to compare themselves with Italy’s historic heritage. The under-secretary sided against the project by Richard Meier for the Ara Pacis in Rome, against the redevelopment of the Orto dell’Abbondanza at Urbino by Giancarlo de Carlo and against the scheme to rearrange the Theodoric Mausoleum at Ravenna, by Boris Podrecca.