The original Patma Museum was constructed by the British in India’s Bihar State to showcase the incredible historical artefacts discovered in the local vicinity. Its 1917 structure is now failing and lacks the environmental and structural capacity to withstand the needs of a modern museum. As such, a competition was launched to design a fresh new complex to house these priceless objects, which has now been won by Maki & Associates with OPOLIS.
Architecture’s most experienced museum-designers were found on the shortlist of five, announced in October 2011, including: Coop Himmelblau with ARCHOHM; Maki & Associates with OPOLIS; Snohetta with Spacematters; Studio Daniel Libeskind with Morphogenesis; and Foster + Partners with C. P. Kukreja & Associates. Maki & Associates with OPOLIS was announced as the winner on 15th February by the Government of Bihar’s Building Construction Department.
The Art Newspaper ran a story this morning stating that Foster + Partners’ originally won the competition but that government officials were concerned over the potential costs of the project if Foster + Partners’ scheme was to be realised. The full budget for construction, exhibits, landscaping, and all soft costs is set at INR 350 crore (£45m/$71m).
A statement from the Government of Bihar reads: “The winning design was that of the internationally known Maki & Associates of Japan along with their Indian partner Opolis. Maki & Associates were awarded 77.56% while Foster + Partners were a close second at 75.59%. The Cabinet of the Government of Patna approved the selection of Maki & Associates on the ASC’s recommendation on 24th January 2012, after which the contract was signed in Patna on 25th January 2012. Maki & Associates + Opolis have started to develop their competition design proposal into the final design.”
These renderings released by the competition organisers depict a ‘campus’ approach to the site with building volumes at varying heights offering a dynamic museum building for the significant location. An entrance pavilion, exhibition galleries, administrative buildings and support spaces are separated from the education portion of the museum by landscaped gardens whilst the gallery spaces are spread over two levels and frame a central courtyard.
Located on a 13.9acre plot on the site of the capital of India’s ancient Magadhan Empire, Pataliputra, the complex will house a historical collection of stone, bronze and terracotta sculptures, multimedia exhibitions, interactive educational activities for children and the stories of Buddha, Mahavir, Ashoka and numerous other significant figures.