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David Adjaye selected to design India's new Kiran Nadar Museum of Art & Cultural Center

India Architecture News - May 10, 2019 - 03:58   2158 views

David Adjaye selected to design India's new Kiran Nadar Museum of Art & Cultural Center

Adjaye Associates has won an international competition to design India's new Kiran Nadar Museum of Art & Cultural Center (KNMACC), acclaimed designer David Adjaye was chosen for new cultural powerhouse that is anticipated to become the leading privately-funded institution for the arts in India. 

The commission was announced yesterday at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale by Mrs Kiran Nadar and Sir David Adjaye. Ghanaian-British architect beaten top international architecture offices in the shortlist, including Ennead Architects, Selldorf Architects, Snøhetta and Thomas Phifer and Partners. 

The competition was launched in the second half of 2018 when a long-list of 47 leading studios from 15 countries. They 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 was the unanimous choice of the international jury. The team’s "veil of triangles" design, a reference to the sacred geometries of trees and mountains, was praised for being both elegant and iconic; in the words of the jury, it was "a visually and emotionally engaging building that was alive, dancing and timeless".

The global search to find an outstanding team to design a contemporary art museum combined with a cultural center for dance, music and creative education was led by competition specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC).

This new destination, to be known as the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art & Cultural Center (KNMACC), has a joint vision focused on education, young people and the power of creativity.

The new building, in New Delhi NCR, will enable KNMA, which has a world-class collection of Indian Modern and contemporary art, to build on its remarkable success to date.

Adjaye's building will create a "cinematic experience" for visitors

"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 Kiran Nadar, Chair, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Cultural Center.

"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."

"This new cultural powerhouse is envisaged as a first for India in combining an outstanding contemporary art museum with a cultural center for dance, music and creative education."

The building will Adjaye's first cultural building in India

"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 RA, Principal, Adjaye Associates.

"As a practice we are elated and honoured 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 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

Each of the five shortlisted practices received an honorarium of £25,000 plus expenses for travel to India.

Established by art collector Kiran Nadar in 2010, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) is the first privately-funded museum of art exhibiting modern and contemporary works from India. Located in the heart of New Delhi NCR, India’s capital city, KNMA hosts an ever-growing collection of artworks that both highlights a magnificent generation of 20th-century Indian painters from the post-Independence decades and engages with the different art practices of younger contemporaries.

Top image: David Adjaye © Ed Reeve

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