Steven Holl Architects recently took home the top prize in a competition to design the new Mumbai City Museum North Wing. The studio's simple yet subtly complex design features carved-out volumes with a reflecting pool nestled between the existing building and the addition, and photovoltaic cells will provide much of the building’s power.
The competition to design one of India’s oldest museums, also known as the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, attracted proposals by several famous offices, including OMA, Studio Mumbai Architecture and Zaha Hadid. By selecting Steven Holl, the competition jury set a precedent as this is the first time an architect was chosen through an international competition to design a public building in the most populous city in India.
The sculptural building is simple in volume and creates dramatic effect of light and shade that’s expected to provide 25 lumens of natural light to its gallery spaces. A large central channel with a monsoon water basin in front of the building will be used for depositing water into a central pool, and around 60 percent of the building’s energy usage will be generated by large photovoltaics.
When built, the museum spaces will house permanent and temporary exhibitions, interpretation center, library, archive, conservation quarters, shops and cafes. The architects will continue working on the design in collaboration with Mumbai office Opolis Architects. Construction is expected to start next year.