Inside the making of the hyper-modern Bihar Museum

JUN 19, 2018 | By Sonal Sancheti
(L-R) Rahul Gore;This use of the natural environment within the campus creates a unique experience with the changing seasons;The stone clad facade of the edifice features rectangular fenestrations. Various functions like the event area, exhibition galleries, administration block and educational zones in the design are connected via external corridors and courtyards that create a campus-like setting. Photographs by Ariel Huber courtesy Opolis;The main entrance lobby of the museum; Sonal Sancheti.

The generous 5,75,000 sq ft plot along Patna’s Bailey Road allowed for a variety of site planning approaches, while demanding sensitivity to its low-scale surroundings and prominent tree growth. Maki and Associates and Opolis conceived the Bihar Museum as a “campus” – an interconnected landscape of buildings and exterior spaces that maintain a modest but dynamic profile, in harmony with existing site conditions.

Each program zone – entrance and event area, exhibition, administration, and educational – has been given a distinct presence and recognisable form within the complex. These areas are linked via interior and exterior courtyards and corridors, ensuring that all spaces retain a connection to their surroundings while remaining sheltered and comfortable throughout the year.
The building’s exterior is characterised by extensive use of weathering steel, a material that symbolises India’s historical achievements in metallurgy as well as its current prominence within the international steel industry, of which Bihar’s rich natural resources have played a critical role.  It is supplemented with stone, terracotta and glass finishes, forming a modern material palette with clear connections to Bihar’s past and future