Steven Holl wins Mumbai City Museum competition with 'solar water' scheme

Steven Holl's design for the new wing features a reflective pool that will generate energy.

December 09, 2014 |
Renderings: Steven Holl Architects

A jury representing the Mumbai City Museum has selected Steven Holl Architects as the winner of an international competition to design the museum's new wing.

Designboom reports that the jury included the director of London’s L&A Museum, and that it was selecting for Mumbai’s first international architectural competition for a public building. Other competitors included Zaha Hadid, OMA, and Amanda Levete.

The winning design involves building 125,000 sf of floor space, to be developed in white concrete and bringing in exactly 25 lumens of daylight to each gallery, Designboom reports.

At the center of the plan is a massive pool that will generate 60% of the museum’s electricity through photovoltaic cells underneath the water’s surface.

According to Designboom, Steven Holl Architects will now develop the initial design together with local practice Opolis Architects. Guy Nordenson & Associates will serve as structural engineers and Transsolar as sustainability consultants. Construction is expected to begin next year.



Steven Holl released the following news on the project:

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, 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. 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. 


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