Steven Holl edges out Zaha Hadid and Amanda Levete for prestigious Mumbai job

Steven Holl has won the competition to design a £28m wing for the Mumbai City Museum.

The American architect beat a shortlist that featured OMA, Zaha Hadid and Amanda Levete, whose practice AL_A was awarded an honourable mention by the jury.

Holl collaborated with Mumbai-based Opolis Architects.

The other finalists, whose names were only released at the same time as the announcement of the winner, were: IM Pei’s practice Pei Cobb Freed; Spain’s Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos; US firm WHY; and India’s Studio Mumbai.

They were picked from 104 expressions of interest.

The museum, the city’s oldest, is a sister to the V&A in London and is one of India’s leading cultural institutions. The original palladian building with its high Victorian interiors has recently been restored.

The new 9,000sq m north wing will double its size, providing visitor facilities and a library, conservation centre and archive. At its heart will be galleries capable of hosting international touring exhibitions and one devoted to the development of Mumbai.

The judges, who included V&A director Martin Roth, praised the winning design for its “sculptural and calligraphic qualities”. Deep cuts in a simple volume will create dramatic effects of light and shade, they added.

A garden courtyard with reflecting pool will divide the new wing from the original building.

Jury chair Sitaram Kunte, a trustee of the museum, said the use of an international design competition to select an architect for a public building was a first that would set a benchmark for other institutions in the region.

Competition organiser Malcolm Reading said: ‘This was an exceptional shortlist – the museum should be congratulated on the quality of responses it drew from the architectural community.

“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.”

The final decision was delayed by six months because of the elections in India earlier this year, he said.

Work is expected to start on site next year.


The finalists

- 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