India’s Upcoming Cultural Powerhouse Selects Iconic Architect

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Adjaye Associates to Develop India’s Leading Privately-funded Institution for the Arts

 A world leading center for art got off to a flying start here today when Kiran Nadar, Founder and Chairperson of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, shared the stage at the Venice Biennale with Sir David Adjaye OBE, to announce Sir David’s firm, Adjaye Associates, has been selected, after a competition, to design the upcoming new state-of-the-art building in New Delhi NCR which will house the new museum and cultural center.

Billed as the leading privately-funded institution for the arts in India, the new Center will house a public museum of contemporary art and center for dance, music, and creative education. Founder and Chairperson Kiran Nadar has a passion for art and culture and has made it her mission to be an advocate for the arts in India and beyond. Beyond the art world, first and foremost Mrs Nadar is a professional bridge player, and has represented India on the International stage and brought home the bronze medal from the Asian Games last year.

This Center will be a cultural powerhouse open to all, furthering our vision of making art accessible to everyone. It is rooted in the conviction that we need to make protected spaces for the life of the imagination. Just as literacy and education programs open minds, the arts and culture experience stimulates new ways of thinking,” said Mrs Nadar. “Sir David’s design incorporates a series of thresholds to art and performance. It creates a cinematic experience for visitors, who encounter artworks and artists as they move from the street through the atrium and up through the building to the lush rooftop garden.”

Sir David Adjaye OBE is a Ghanaian-born British architect, whose most famous building is the award-winning Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. In 2018, Sir David chaired the Stirling Prize jury, Britain’s highest award for excellence in architecture.

Adjaye Associates most recent completed buildings include a new contemporary art museum, Ruby City, in San Antonio, Texas for the Linda Pace Foundation and the Ghana Freedom Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennale.

“This is our first cultural commission in India but for me personally, it is the culmination of a much longer journey. I first came to India many years ago and immediately felt a profound connection with the life and energy.” said Sir David Adjaye OBE.

As a practice we are elated and honored to win this competition. The new building will celebrate and foster public interest in contemporary art, culture and creative partnerships, and enable KNMA to continue their admirable pursuit of engaging younger audiences and future generations with one of the finest and most diverse collections of Indian Modern and contemporary art.

In a city that is in perpetual motion, we hope this new addition will offer a much-needed place for thinking, observing, reflecting and learning, granting a renewed sense of togetherness and belonging.”

The global search to find an outstanding design team was led by competition specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants of the UK. The competition was launched in the second half of 2018 when a long-list of 47 leading studios from 15 countries were invited to participate in the contest’s first stage. At stage two, a shortlist of five practices was asked to create concept designs.

Adjaye Associates’ “Veil of Triangles” concept is a reference to the sacred geometries of trees and mountains. It was selected for being both elegant and iconic. The jury praised it as “a visually and emotionally engaging building that was alive, dancing and timeless”.

According to Malcolm Reading, Competition Director and Jury Chair, “The complex brief challenged teams in asking for a charismatic as well as an efficient building. The winning proposal is distinctive and intriguing but also underpinned with organisational logic and clarity: the galleries are skilfully handled, and the programmatic functions are clearly sited and dispersed.”

The building unites two cores, a performance wing and an art wing, connected by a courtyard and a dramatic atrium of discovery. Nature and gardens are integral to the design, from the entrance courtyard, moving up through dynamic green spaces and terraces to the lush rooftop pavilion.

Adjaye Associates will partner with local architect S. Ghosh & Associates; engineers WSP; theatre and acoustic design consultancy Charcoalblue; lighting designers Studio Fractal; and management support consultants Plan A.

The full jury comprised:

  • Kiran Nadar, Chair, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art
  • Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Executive Director and CEO, HCL Enterprise
  • Shikhar Malhotra, Vice Chairman, HCL Healthcare
  • Malcolm Reading, Competition Director (Jury Chair)
  • Glenn D Lowry, Director, MoMA, New York
  • Chris Dercon, Art Historian, Curator, and former Director, Tate Modern
  • Scott Newman, Partner, Cooper Robertson

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