Steven Holl Architects win Mumbai City Museum Competition


Steven Holl Architects win Mumbai City Museum Competition

•    First time international architectural competition is held for a public building in Mumbai

•    Eminent Jury was chaired by Mumbai’s Municipal Commissioner Mr Sitaram Kunte

An international team led by Steven Holl has won the Mumbai City Museum North Wing Design Competition. The Mumbai City Museum, also known as the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, is one of India’s leading cultural institutions and is in the process of creating a dynamic new identity for itself as a cultural hub in Mumbai.

The Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai and Co-Chairman and Trustee of the Museum, Mr Sitaram Kunte, chaired the eleven-person Jury, notable for its array of leading international figures from the museum world, academia and the business community. The Jury met over a three-day period in Mumbai in December 2014.

Eight teams were shortlisted for the 275 crore project for new permanent and temporary galleries and facilities. The Jury assessed design submissions, presentations and interviews and unanimously selected New York-based practice Steven Holl Architects who collaborated with Mumbai-based Opolis Architects.

The winning design was distinctive for its sculptural and calligraphic qualities. It proposes a simple volume, which is enlivened by deep subtracting cuts, creating dramatic effects of light and shade. Its central feature is a reflecting pool in a new garden courtyard between the old and new buildings. The scheme will establish a cultural campus around the Museum in this growing district within Mumbai.  

The Jury Chair Sitaram Kunte said:

‘The selection of Steven Holl Architects marks an important moment for the Museum, for Mumbai and for India – this is the first time a design team has been selected through an international design competition for a public building and this initiative will now set a benchmark for other institutions in the region.’

‘The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad is one of the best-loved and oldest Museums in India.  We are delighted that it will now have a world-class addition by a very gifted team.’

Tasneem Mehta, Managing Trustee and Honorary Director of the Museum said: 

‘We have been incredibly impressed by the hard work, commitment and creativity shown by all eight shortlisted teams.  However, the winning team produced an outstanding, iconic design, which captivated the Jury.  This building will change the cultural conversation in Mumbai and in the wider museum world. The scheme integrates sustainability into the design and is ambitious to set new standards of environmental performance and energy conservation. The campus concept in a growing part of Mumbai will make a real contribution to urban life here.’

‘This announcement comes nearly 170 years after the Museum was founded and this decision to appoint Steven Holl Architects promises a great step forward for the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad, it will transform the Museum and the visitor experience.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Organiser and Chairman of Malcolm Reading Consultants said: 

‘This was an exceptional shortlist – the Museum should be congratulated on the quality of responses it drew from the architectural community.  

‘We would like to thank the shortlisted teams for their patience while the competition programme was extended and also the Jury for their insights and indefatigability.

‘In Steven Holl Architects we have a team ready to meet the challenges of the brief, giving the Museum exciting and memorable spaces, which will allow it to renew its mission, engage with new audiences and sparkle as one of the key cultural destinations in Mumbai.’

Noah Yaffe, Partner at Steven Holl Architects said:

‘It is an incredible honour to be the winners and we’re very excited about the next steps on the project.’

Steven Holl is one of the world’s leading contemporary architects, his practice is famous 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.  Current work includes the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Princeton University, USA, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Expansion in Washington DC, USA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA.

The Jury also awarded an honourable mention to UK-based practice AL_A, led by Amanda Levete. 

The new addition to the existing Museum is expected to be 8,000 to 10,000 m2 (85,000 – 110,000 sq ft), providing new galleries and facilities including, an interpretation centre, a library, an archive, conservation facilities and a new museum shop and café.

At the heart of the new wing will be a permanent gallery to showcase contemporary Mumbai, focusing on important milestones in the city’s development and highlighting its cultural achievements as well as temporary exhibition space to international standards capable of taking major touring exhibitions. 

 In alphabetical order the eight finalists were (lead consultants in bold)

•    AL_A with PK Das, Arup, Turner & Townsend, GROSS. MAX and Superflux

•    Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos with Malik Architecture, Arup and Empty

•    OMA + S&K with Meinhardt India, Houtman + Sander, GMD Consultants and Langdon Seah 

•    Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects with Christopher Charles Benninger Architects (CCBA), Leslie E. Robertson Associates International (LERA), Buro Happold, WORKSHOP: Ken Smith Landscape Architect and George Sexton Associates

•    Steven Holl Architects with Opolis Architects, Guy Nordenson and Associates, AECOM, Dongre Project Management Consultants, Transsolar and L’Observatoire

•     Studio Mumbai Architecture + Edifice Consultants with Sterling Engineering Consultancy Services and Eskayem Consultants

•    wHY with Ganti + Associates, Sterling Engineering, Sterling and Wilson, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Buro Happold, Local Projects and Quantsoft India

•    Zaha Hadid Architects with Sameep Padora Associates (sP+a), AKT II, Max Fordham, Dan Pearson Studio and AECOM 

At the first stage of the competition, 104 Expressions of Interest were received from architects all over the world.

The Jury comprised:   

•    Mr Sitaram Kunte – Chair of Jury, the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai and Co-Chairman,Trustee of the Museum

•    Mrs Tasneem Mehta – Deputy Chair of Jury, the Managing Trustee & Honorary Director of the Museum

•    Mrs Minal Bajaj, a Director of Bajaj Auto Ltd. and a Donor Trustee of the Museum

•    Mr Shyam Benegal, a Trustee of the Museum and a prolific filmmaker

•    Dr Homi Bhabha, Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard as well as the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English

•    Dr Vishakha Desai, the Special Advisor for Global Affairs and Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University

•    Mr Rajiv Jalota, the Additional Municipal Commissioner, Projects, M.C.G.M., and Trustee of the Museum

•    Mr Sen Kapadia, founder of Sen Kapadia Associates

•    Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group

•    Dr Martin Roth, the Director of the V&A Museum in London

•    Dr Aroon Tikekar, the former President of the Asiatic Society in Mumbai a prolific author, journalist and authority on Mumbai

Malcolm Reading Consultants organised the competition on behalf of the Museum, combining international standards for architectural competitions with Council of Architecture (India) guidelines. Further details of the project are available on the dedicated competition microsite:

Steven Holl Architects will start work shortly on the design development with the Museum; construction is expected to begin in 2015.

The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum is a sister museum to the V&A in London.  Its original building, now beautifully restored, dates from the late 19th Century and is considered a masterpiece – a rare combination within India of Palladian architecture with high Victorian interiors.  

Media enquiries regarding the museum to Mr Himanshu Kadam: [email protected] copied to Ms Gargi Mashruwala: [email protected]

All competition-related media enquiries to Catherine Reading by email at [email protected]  or to Jayne Broomhall + 44 (0)207 8312 998 or by email: [email protected]

Image requests to Sarah Mattok + 44 (0)207 8312 998) or by email: [email protected]