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Holl pips Levete to win Mumbai museum contest

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US star Steven Holl has narrowly beaten Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A) to land the project to design a new £28million north wing for Mumbai’s Bhau Daji Lad Museum

According to insiders, the eleven-person jury struggled to chose between the two bids on the final day of judging in the contest organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

In the end the panel ‘unanimously’ opted for the ‘distinctive’, ‘sculptural and ‘calligraphic’ designs drawn up by Holl and Mumbai-based collaborators Opolis Architects.

AL_A was given an honourable mention.

The ‘exceptional’ eight-strong shortlist also included teams led by Zaha Hadid, OMA and Pei Cobb Freed. A decision had originally been expected in March this year but was delayed, in part, by the scale of the response.

More than 100 entrants threw their hats into the ring for the job to double the size of Mumbai’s oldest museum, built in 1855.

Malcolm Reading said: ‘We’d like to thank the shortlisted teams for their patience while the competition programme was extended.

‘[Holl’s team is] ready to meet the challenges of the brief, giving the Museum exciting and memorable spaces allowing it to renew its mission, engage with new audiences and sparkle as one of the key cultural destinations in Mumbai.’

Shortlist in full

  • AL_A (UK) with PK Das, Arup, Turner & Townsend, GROSS. MAX and Superflux
  • Studio Mumbai Architecture (India)+ Edifice Consultants with Sterling Engineering Consultancy Services and Eskayem Consultants
  • Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (Spain) with Malik Architecture, Arup and Empty
  • OMA + S&K (Netherlands) with Meinhardt India, Houtman + Sander, GMD Consultants and Langdon Seah
  • Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects (US) with Christopher Charles Benninger Architects, Leslie E Robertson Associates International, Buro Happold, WORKSHOP: Ken Smith Landscape Architect and George Sexton Associates
  • Steven Holl Architects (US) with Opolis Architects, Guy Nordenson and Associates, AECOM, Dongre Project Management Consultants, Transsolar and L’Observatoire
  • wHY (US) 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, AKT II, Max Fordham, Dan Pearson Studio and AECOM

The new addition is expected to add between 8,000m2 to 10,000m2, providing new galleries as well as an interpretation centre, a library, an archive, conservation facilities and a new museum shop and café.

The proposed 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’.

Holl’s victorious scheme also includes temporary exhibition space capable of taking major touring exhibitions.

Construction is expected to begin in 2015.

Winner: Steven Holl Architects' scheme for the Mumbai City Museum North Wing Design Competition

Winner: Steven Holl Architects’ scheme for the Mumbai City Museum North Wing Design Competition

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