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The Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum, Ahmedabad, by RMA Architects

Restoration by RMA Architects: The Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum, is situated on an estate in the historic district of Shahibaug in Ahmedabad.

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The Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum designed by RMA Architects

The Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum is situated on an estate in the historic district of Shahibaug in Ahmedabad. The project is comprised of four components:

First, the historic Kasturbhai Lalbhai Heritage House was restored through an extensive conservation process and converted into a museum to house the family’s collection of antiques. The spaces in the house were returned to their original character and configuration so that visitors can enjoy not only the collection but also the ambiance of the house as it had originally been used, with antiques integrated into the everyday decor. 

The second component of the project involved readapting the staff quarters and support areas – Batley Block, such as the original kitchen, into galleries to house the contemporary art collection of the Lalbhai family. This involved restoring an annex that was designed by the British architect Claude Batley as well as adding a pavilion in steel and glass – the Batley Gallery to house traveling exhibitions. 

The third component involved creating a new 3,000 square feet gallery called the Lalbhai Gallery which is partly subterranean so that it did not visually impinge on the presence of the original house and historic structure. The gallery is flanked by two large courtyards which act as light wells to draw natural light into the spaces. These courtyards also frame views back to the existing historic structure. Architecturally, the gallery is framed by a series of beige walls which align with the beige plinth base of the adjacent house, creating and accentuating a datum which, metaphorically, is consistent for both the original heritage building and this contemporary addition—built a century apart. 

The last component of the project involved tying these disparate parts of the museum together through landscape. An amphitheater for performances and lectures as well as a garden area around the original fountain create two very different spatial ambiances, allowing different views of the site. Vines from the garden climb over the subterranean structure, further visually embedding it in the ground while also extending the green space.

Before and After

Images:

Drawings

DATE OF DESIGN AND COMPLETION

Lalbhai House: 2014 – 2016

Batley Gallery: 2014- 2016

Lalbhai Gallery: 2015–2017

AREA

Lalbaug House + Batley Gallery: 25000 sqft

Lalbhai Gallery: 4000 sqft

CLIENT: 

Jayshree and Sanjay Lalbhai 

PRINCIPAL DESIGNERS: 

Rahul Mehrotra, Robert Stephens

CONSULTANTS: 

Structural Consultants – Ami Engineers, Consulting Engineers, NK Shah 

Electrical Consultants – Antech Consultants 

Plumbing Consultants- Avani Enterprise 

HVAC Consultant- Mihir Patel 

Contractor – Keya Associates, PSP

Photography Credits: Rajesh Vora and Dinesh Mehta

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