Architects: RMA Architects
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Rajesh Vora, Edmund Sumner
From the architect. A Visitor Centre located at the entrance of the Prince of Wales Museum, a Grade I heritage structure in Mumbai. The contemporary structure expands upon the footprint of a previously existing multipurpose hall, and is a part of an expansion plan for this prestigious urban landmark. The centre fulfills various programmatic functions, ranging from the integration of baggage collection and storage, to ticketing and security, as well as a museum shop, two hundred seat auditorium, and rest rooms.
A lightweight, stainless steel clad elliptical roof creates a covered verandah for circulation, integrating disparate visitor programs into a consolidated and modest, yet contemporary form. Glass and metal surfaces exist as a visual counterpoint to stout basalt stone of local heritage structures. Reflective material planes create a paradoxical visual poetry in which archaic forms of the adjacent museum are recast and distorted in a new perspective.
The pre-defined footprint is organically punctured by existing trees that project through openings in the roof, yielding localized deviations in the otherwise low-key scale spaces. Integration of natural textures with modern means and materials further expands the defining narrative of the centre, that of a culturally meaningful intervention within a monumental historic context.