KNMAs New Building Takes Flight: Sir David Adjaye to Design India’s Largest Cultural Haven

KNMAs New Building Takes Flight: Sir David Adjaye to Design Indias Largest Cultural Haven

The upcoming Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) building, designed by renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye in collaboration with S. Ghosh & Associates, will be the largest cultural centre in India upon its completion in Delhi in 2026. An architectural model of this building will be previewed at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Lesley Lokko. SURFACES REPORTER (SR) provides an in-depth look into India's largest cultural centre. Keep reading to find out more!

Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti once said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.” So when this dominion of artistic expression expands, the creative tirade needs to be accommodated for people to see and experience the barrage of individual and collective truths. The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), a private museum established in 2010 by Kiran Nadar, one of India’s most well-known art collectors has been home to such expressions. 

Futuristic Cultural Center 

The model of the new KNMA building was recently unveiled at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia; designed by the esteemed Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye in collaboration with S. Ghosh & Associates, the building is destined to become India's largest cultural centre. The ambitious project is scheduled to open its doors in Delhi in 2026, promising to leave a lasting impact on the cultural landscape.

Thirteen years later the museum which currently has branches in New Delhi and Noida is all set to expand, the new location, covering over 100,000 square metres, will be located on the National Highway (NH8) in Delhi, near the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The Creative Process Behind Adjaye's Winning Design

The competition for the design of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art & Cultural Center (KNMACC) commenced in the latter part of 2018, initiating a process that involved an extensively long list of 47 prominent studios from 15 different countries. 

These esteemed studios were invited to participate in the initial stage of the competition, showcasing their expertise and creative vision. The building will be Adjaye's first cultural commission in India, Adjaye’s firm beat top international architecture offices in the shortlist, including Ennead Architects, Selldorf Architects, Snøhetta and Thomas Phifer and Partners. 

In a statement released by KNMA, Sir David Adjaye said “KNMA provides an opportunity to embolden the rise of contemporary Indian art, releasing a new cultural offering for both the people of India, as well as for the wider global arts landscape. Its location in Delhi–one of the oldest cities in the world with a lineage of habitation that stretches to the 6th century BCE gives new context to its position as a dynamic, living cultural force. As such, its specific location within the city directly influences the new building's form, rhythm and landscape.”

Other Indian Works on Display in Venice Architecture Biennale

Apart from unveiling the building’s design, works of major Indian artists like Tyeb Mehta (1925-2009), Zarina (1937-2020) and Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990), which span more than a century have been presented as part of the Mnemonic Special Project, the project is a part of this year’s edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, titled “The Laboratory of the Future” which opened on May 20, 2023, and will run until November 26, 2023.

The Mnemonic Special Project centres on the interdependency between memory and architecture referencing the theme of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. This historical event not only shattered a once-unified sense of place and identity but also had far-reaching consequences, including the displacement of millions of people and the emergence of two additional nuclear powers in Asia.

Apart from featuring the works of well-known artists, the exhibition also features a compelling film by contemporary filmmaker Amit Dutta, shedding light on the artistic vision of Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990). The inclusion of this film adds another dimension to the exhibition, offering a captivating glimpse into Mohamedi's artistic process and creative inspiration.

Image Credits: KNMA

Keep reading SURFACES REPORTER for more such news stories.

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