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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Museum Musings

By Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy the architects

St Pius Museum at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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Situated below the apse of a chapel within the sprawling grounds of the St Pius seminary at Goregaon (E), Mumbai lies a tiny Christian Art Museum that showcases time-honoured Christian religious artifacts and memorabilia…

Initially used as a make-shift gymnasium, this 1,500 sq ft space is a juxtaposition of a plane between concentric walls, which is articulated to divide space, segregate the collection, house artificial diffused light and choreograph the movement of the visitor. Midway through the collection is a tiered seating for audio-visual presentations to educate visitors; and doubles up as storage area for the several artifacts.

St Pius Museum at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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Creating a museum within a limited space was the biggest challenge faced by the architecture firm – Urban Interventions; so they opted to strike a contemporary imagery by capturing the visitors’ attention via freshness of design.

St Pius Museum at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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Limited funds also did not allow the museum to be designed as a state-of-the-art facility right from the outset. However, discerningly working to set right the priorities of the set-up – correct spectrum of ultra violet and infra red light; intensity of lumens, etc, the simple composition has the walls finished in Plaster of Paris; false ceiling in gypsum board; cabinets, partitions etc. suited to ease in maintenance with diffused light in triangular slivers enhancing the overall ambiance within the space.

St Pius seminary at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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However, this has not diminished the awe of the collection of artifacts nor has it affected the prominence of the visiting dignitaries – both contributing factors that make this project an important insert in the fabric of Mumbai. 

St Pius Museum at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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St Pius Museum at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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Incidentally, a highlight and indigenously incorporated aspect is the Timeline of the various churches in the Mumbai metropolitan area. With diverse artifacts ensconced in the wall, this constitutes a significant counterpoint to the academic information of the timeline, making community members appreciative of its heritage value and, in turn enlightened enough to become guardians of the tangible and intangible heritage of the diocese.

St Pius Museum at Goregaon(E), Mumbai
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Indeed, the awards the firm has been garnering are a true reflection of their strong belief ‘Design appropriate to the context, works best’.


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