Cubist building for city’s art society | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Cubist building for city’s art society

With its rolling concrete skin, overhanging cubist blocks and three-storey high glass panels, the Bombay Art Society’s (BAS) new building at Bandra Reclamation looks like no other in Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Jun 06, 2013 01:22 IST
Manoj R Nair

With its rolling concrete skin, overhanging cubist blocks and three-storey high glass panels, the Bombay Art Society’s (BAS) new building at Bandra Reclamation looks like no other in Mumbai.

The annual art exhibitions of BAS, which was founded in 1888, was where masters such as SH Raza, KH Ara and MF Hussain first found fame.

But the group never had a building of its own; it currently operates out of the Jehangir Art Gallery building in Kalaghoda.

Artist Prafulla Dahanukar, president of BAS, said they are eager to move to their new premises. There were plans to inaugurate the building in June, but the event may move to September. “It will be a big opening, but we may not be able to do it in the rains,” said Dahanukar.

The building was under planning and construction for nearly nine years, the complicated design having delayed municipal permissions.

“Lot of people thought it [the design] was weird, but the Bombay Art Society loved it from the first sketch,” said Sanjay Puri, the building’s architect.

Puri said that the building’s style was more a consequence of its unique needs than of design considerations. “It is built on a small plot (just 1300 sq. metres) and the building had to be built as a mixed-use structure with galleries, auditoriums and offices,” said Puri.

“So, purposefully, the design is fluid so the space looks bigger than it actually is,” said Puri.

The building’s undulating walls are made of wire mesh and concrete. While the main entrance of the building leads to its three art galleries,

auditorium, cafeteria; and work spaces for artists, a separate entrance at the rear leads to a four-level office block that will be rented out.

To support the structure’s unique shape, the supporting columns do not run linear from bottom to top. In architectural terms, this is called floating columns.

Other features include a cantilevered staircase with plywood cladding that runs along the walls and unobtrusive air-conditioning vents that are less than an inch wide.