Museum for Jain Heritage
Architecture and exhibition design for a museum of Jain artefacts, Koba, Gujarat
PROJECT AREA: 75,000 Sq.ft | Ongoing
A learned and respected Jain Acharya- Padmasagarsuriji, during his travels through the villages of India, discovered that beautiful objects that spoke of Jain history were being neglected or discarded – and with this, he requested people to give him the objects or collections. An outpouring of antiquity and art, from manuscripts, to long paintings called ‘Patts,’ coins, statues and even ivory toys, flooded the coffers of the SMJK trust premises at Koba, Ahmedabad. Over the years, this collection has grown into a serious repository of Jain history. It has been carefully catalogued, and preserved in a vault, and minimally displayed awaiting a home worthy of the delight and knowledge each piece brings.
With this intent, we were asked to design a museum on a plot of land that connects the Temple/Jain Derasar of the Koba campus to the Dharamshala/Hostels and Bhojanalaya/Dining hall. The plot has several trees, which have become the core of the project.
The museum, we hope will be a community space - a public environment to be enjoyed by school children, devotees, scholars and tourists. In this spirit, it draws from the concentric square plan of a Jain Mandala and the austere whiteness that underlies the religion.
Our solution has been to create a building that lifts itself off the ground completely on stilts with a shallow water body in the center within which the existing neem trees nestle. The ground level of this building becomes a free and open community space with trees, water body, sculpture and a temporary exhibition space allowing the young or old visitor to meander and relish the atmosphere. A ramp by the water leads slowly up to the exhibition galleries, which has been designed like a “parikrama” in a Jain temple. The creation of an environment that draws from the heritage of the religion, as well as the crafts of its practice but creates a contemporary community space has been the goal of this project.
The pause points are glass jharokhas with fire chutes and smoke extraction systems and glazed connectors/lobbies between galleries that overlook into the serene courtyard. The simplicity of the building masks complex mechanical systems that ensure that the air, light and fire norms of a world-class museum are adhered to.
The museum will open to public by July 2021.
Watch the storyboard
Museum for Jain heritage
Storyboard by SJK Architects