I undertake to ensure that MAXXI is finished by the end of 2008, said culture minister Francesco Rutelli at the opening of an exhibition on contemporary museums at the site of the Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, which is currently under construction in the Flaminio area of Rome.

Begun in 2003, the futuristic museum of contemporary art and architecture designed by Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid had been scheduled for completion by the end of this year. However, building has been delayed due to funding problems and it is still not entirely clear where the estimated 70 million needed to complete the project will come from.

Construction teams are pushing on regardless; and on 20 September the basic form of the structure a mesh of long, narrow galleries at different levels could clearly be made out behind heavy scaffolding.

Commissioned by former culture minister and current Rome mayor Walter Veltroni in 1998 the project, when finished, will consist of two distinct museums: one for art and the other for architecture. In addition, there will be space for temporary exhibitions and live performances, as well as an auditorium, bookshop and facilities for visitors. A library will be housed in one of the buildings that was conserved when the Montello barracks that once stood on the site were pulled down.

The exhibition Museums. Musei del XXI secolo runs until 29 October. MAXXI, Via Guido Reni 2, tel. 0632101829.