Architects Robert Venturi and Frank Gehry have been picked to design a plan to turn a 19th century factory into the world's largest contemporary art museum.

The two architects joined with two other firms _ Bruner-Cott & Associates of Cambridge and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of New York _ in their submission for the renovation of the huge Sprague Electric Co. plant into a museum to house major collections of 20th century art.

Both men are known for their odd contemporary designs. Venturi, for example, once designed a building painted in paisley swirls.

The setting for the planned Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is a 28-building factory in an industrial city in the state's remote northwest corner. Among the proposals submitted was a design from Coop Himmelblau of Los Angeles for a giant contemporary sculpture of straps and metal above the factory. Gae Aulenti of Milan, Italy, submitted an inch-thick book of photographs of her projects, including the Gare D'Orsay, a Paris museum created from a train station.