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Steven Holl Architects | New Wing of Mumbai City Museum

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Steven Holl Architects Wins Competition for New Wing of Mumbai City Museum

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Steven Holl was selected unanimously from 8 finalists including Zaha Hadid, OMA and Amanda Levete, to design a new wing for the Mumbai City Museum, also known as Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum. The jury included Martin Roth, director of the V&A Museum in London, Tasneem Mehta, Managing Trustee & Honorary Director of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Homi Bhabha, Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard and Sen Kapadia, architect at Sen Kapadia Associates and founding director of the Kamala Reheja Vdyanidhi Institute for Conceptual Architecture in Mumbai, among other leading professionals of the museum world and academia. Mumbai’s oldest museum garden in Byculla will have a 125,000 sq ft new wing.

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The Mumbai City Museum’s North Wing addition is envisioned as a sculpted subtraction from a simple geometry formed by the site boundaries. The concept of “Addition as Subtraction” is developed in white concrete with sculpted diffused light in the 65,000 sq ft new gallery spaces. Deeper subtractive cuts bring in exactly twenty-five lumens of natural light to each gallery.

The basically orthogonal galleries are given a sense of flow and spatial overlap from the light cuts. The central cut forms a shaded monsoon water basin which runs into a central pool, related to the great stepped well architecture of India. The central pool joins the new and old in its reflection and provides sixty percent of the museum’s electricity through photovoltaic cells located below the water’s surface. The white concrete structure has an extension of local rough-cut Indian Agra stone. The circulation through the galleries is one of spatial energy, while the orthogonal layout of the walls foregrounds the Mumbai City Museum collections.


Steven Holl Architects will develop the design with local architects Opolis Architects, Guy Nordenson & Associates as structural engineers and Transsolar as sustainability consultants. This is the first time that an international architectural competition has been held for a public building in Mumbai. The initiative will also create the first major public-private partnership building in the city. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.

Steven Holl Architects has realized architectural works nationally and overseas, with extensive experience in the arts (including museum, gallery and exhibition design), campus and educational facilities, residential work and master planning. Steven Holl Architects is a 40-person architecture and urban design office founded in 1976, and working globally as one office from two locations; New York City and Beijing.


Steven Holl leads the office with partners Chris McVoy and Noah Yaffe. Most recently completed are the Reid Building at the Glasgow School of Art (Glasgow, UK), which opened in April 2014;Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University (New York, NY), which was completed in March 2013; and the Daeyang Gallery and House (Seoul, Korea) which opened in June 2012. Currently in construction are the Beirut Marina (Beirut, Lebanon); the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University; the Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa; and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA).


Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Architect: Steven Holl Architects
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