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No money for India's first architecture museum

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India's first architecture museum is still waiting to be built - though the master-plan is all ready.

The idea for such a museum was mooted three years ago but has been gathering dust for want of money, despite an earlier flow of funds from the Council of Architecture (CoA), the statutory body for Indian architects.


A brainchild of Greha, a Delhi-based non-profit knowledge-based society, the National Museum for Architecture was first pitched at a meeting of architects, engineers, artists, planners and academics in September, 2014 in the capital.

Following this, the CoA promised a sum of Rs 7 lakh to the organisation for preparing a report on the project.

According to Greha's founding member M N Ashish Ganju, the proposal ran into funding problems because of a change of guard in the CoA.

"Originally, it was the CoA that championed it. They sponsored the report," he said. "But, unfortunately, the leadership of the council changed last year."

He said the concept of the project had been worked out. All it needs now was funding.

"But now, as in politics, the new leader says that they will go against anything that the old leader has done," he said.

The CoA, however, said an initial amount of Rs 7 lakh had been pumped into the project.

"We were not the only authority that was supposed to fund it. But none of the others came forward. We, on our part, gave them over Rs 7 lakh as initial funding. But it did not move ahead because we asked them to present a detailed project report, which they never did," said CoA vice president Vijay Garg.

Ganju now hopes to bring other bodies on board to help raise funds for the project which, according to the report, will cost Rs 1,200 crore in the first five years.

The proposal, which was supported by bodies such as the Indian Institute of Architects and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) right from the start, has now found new collaborators - including the Indian Institute of Interior Designers (IIID) and the Institute of Landscape and Architects (ISOLA).

"This idea is important because in India, we just don't celebrate our architects and their art the way we do arts, poetry or music," said Jasleen from ISOLA.

"In last couple of years lost their biggest icons in architecture -- from Charles Correa to Professor Mohammad Shaheer -- but there was hardly any mention of them. This museum will help people know and appreciate such talents."

Having identified a 1.3-hectare plot of land, belonging to the Development Authority (DDA), in Mehrauli for the museum, Ganju said he was hopeful that something would work out. A project of such magnitude could only be completed with government support, he added.

"We are in touch with private agencies, but the government has to spearhead this project. And the route to the government is through the council. I am hopeful that we will somehow work around them," he said.

Ganju called the project a "network of inspirational sites", and distinguished it from traditional museums.

"The concept of having a building in which you show buildings is funny. So this is simply not a building which is a storehouse of artefacts. It is a place of learning where people will be introduced to a whole world of architecture," Ganju, who taught in colleges of architecture across and Europe, said.

Greha works in the field of environment development, habitat design and architecture.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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