Mumbai City Museum to Get a New Green Extension

The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Byculla, is all set to get a green extension. It was established in 1872 as the erstwhile Victoria & Albert Museum and is a sister museum to the V&A in London. The museum is city’s oldest and country’s third oldest.

External view of the original building. Image Copyright Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

The Mumbai city museum had appointed Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) to run a design competition for a proposed wing to be added to the museum. Expressions of interest were received from 104 architects across the world. Eight teams were short-listed for the final round of this $45 million project. The jury consisted of 11 distinguished members and was chaired by Mr. Sitaram Kunte, the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai who is also the Co-Chairman and Trustee of  this museum.

New York-based Steven Holl, one of the leading contemporary architects has been selected to design the new wing. This is the first time an international architect has been chosen to design a public building in Mumbai.

Steven Holl is also known for projects such as the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas, the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki.

The selection was made on the basis of design submissions, presentations and interviews. Steven Holl Architects will be collaborating with Mumbai-based Opolis Architects.

Inside Rendering by Steven Holl Architects. Image Copyright: Malcolm Reading Consultants

The new wing to be added on the north side of the Mumbai city museum will cover an area of 8,000 to 10,000 m2 (85,000 – 110,000 sq ft). This addition in the museum will provide new permanent galleries and temporary exhibition space capable of receiving large-scale touring shows. The plan also includes an interpretation center, library, archive, conservation center and a museum shop.

The museum will have a sculptural addition in white concrete such that each gallery will receive 25 lumens of diffused natural light. Taking inspiration from the great stepped well architecture of India, the new wing will have a shaded monsoon water basin which runs into a central pool. Beneath this pool there will be a expanse of solar photovoltaic cells which will help in generating 60% of the museum’s electricity. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.

Proposed North Wing of the museum. Image Copyright: Steven Holl Architects

However, the expansion plan of the museum has run into controversy with a local party protesting that it will lead to a space crunch in the already crowded locality, with no place for children to play.

In India’s booming real estate sector of late, green buildings have been on the rise. Get it!??