The Architecture of
The cultural heritage of India-its theatre, music, dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.-is as diverse and as complex as the country itself. Documents relating to India’s rich cultural heritage are housed in various museums here and abroad. However, no Indian museum yet has the state-of-the-art facility to address every aspect of preserving it while promoting both multidisciplinary and multicultural interface.
But now, the much awaited dream of having exactly such an institution with a 21st century agenda is being realized in the Kolkata Museum of Modern Art (KMOMA). Its objective is to bring, under a single roof, two broad areas of work: collection, preservation and exhibition of fine art objects, both from India and abroad, dating from the late 18th century to the contemporary times; and the promotion of art education and research. This landmark project envisages something more than an art museum in KMOMA. It has been planned as a cultural hub on a grand scale, free from any parochial agenda. This iconic institution, to come up on the new superhighway connecting Kolkata to the International Airport, will be the point of attraction for both art lovers and tourists not only from all corners of India but from across Asia and the rest of the world.
THE KOLKATA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (KMOMA) has commissioned Herzog & De Meuron (HDM), Basel, Switzerland, of Tate Modern fame to design the complex. The company went on to fetch general applause for the Beijing Olympic Stadium ‘Bird’s Nest’. The KMOMA complex consists of an Art Centre (G+9 storied building) and a Culture City on 10 acres of land at New Town, Rajarhat, Kolkata. Inspired by Indian temple architecture, its design is an ideal blend of the East and the West, a synthesis of tradition and modernity. The building seems to be constructed with massive blocks stacked one upon the other. But there’s a sense of openness, too, as though the outdoors were seduced to quietly slip in. Its scheme of different levels will ensure that visitors can get a glimpse of different floors from wherever he or she is. The building unit chosen is Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU). Its façade forms a screen, recalling the stone filigree of traditional Indian architecture which will allow natural light to filter in and create an ambience of contemplative space.
Herzog & De Meuron
The Kolkata Museum of Modern Art (KMOMA) is privileged to commission Herzog & de Meuron to design the first state of the art museum in India. Herzog & de Meuron are among the most highly celebrated architecture companies in the world. This award winning international firm was founded in 1978 in Basel, Switzerland by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Some of their most recognized projects include the Tate Modern and the National Stadium Beijing, the Main Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games. The practice maintains offices in Basel, London, Hamburg, Barcelona, New York, and Beijing. In addition to founders Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, the firm includes eight partners: Harry Gugger, Christine Binswanger, Robert Hösl, Ascan Mergenthaler, Stefan Marbach, Wolfgang Hardt, David Koch and Markus Widmer. The work of Herzog & de Meuron has appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications worldwide. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are both teaching at Harvard University (since 1994), US and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH Studio Basel, Switzerland (since 1999), where they co-founded the ETH Studio Basel - Contemporary City Institute. They are the recipients of many honours including The Pritzker Architecture Prize and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal.
Not since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned French architect Le Corbusier for the creation of Chandigarh, one of India’s leading cities in the 1950s, has a major international architecture firm come to India for such a landmark venture. This is the first time that such a significant project is happening in this region of Asia and will emerge as a meeting ground for creative minds across the world. KMOMA will house a national gallery focusing on Indian art, and International gallery representing art from the West and Middle East, and also from Far East. In addition, KMOMA will have an academic wing which will conduct lectures and courses taught by experts from across the world on various art and museum topics.