Bihar Museum | Maki & Associates and Opolis

| 16 : 45 – 26 February 2018 |


Bihar Museum

Designed by Pritzker prize winner Architect Fumihiko Maki in collaboration in Opolis Architects, The Bihar museum is an ode to the treasures of many civilizations that once dwelled there.

Architect Fumihiko who is the principal architect of Maki & Associates along with Opolis Architects based in Mumbai won this project through an international design competition. Contrasts in exhibition spaces, art galleries, courtyards and terraces form a part of this museum which stretches along the Bailey road in Patna, India. Taking into consideration a visitor’s process of learning while going through the expansive spaces, the world class museum houses the history and evolution of Bihari’s culture. Bihar being rich in iron industry and minerals, the architects used weathering steel – Corten steel to showcase its importance and connectivity to the region.

Bihar Museum, Ticket counter

The entrance canopy

From the Architects (Maki and Associates)

Maki and Associates’ design for the Bihar Museum creates an engaging and appropriately-scaled response to a prominent site and an ambitious, multi-faceted museum program. The Museum houses a rich variety of treasures from the region, It includes event and education spaces that nurture a newfound sense of pride and connection to Bihar’s storied history.


Bihar Museum, Exterior design, photography

Children’s Museum exterior view


Bihar Museum, Exhibition, Museum design

Exhibits – Children’s wing

Site –

The generous 5.3 hectare plot along Patna’s Bailey Road allowed for a variety of site planning approaches, while demanding sensitivity to its low-scale surroundings and prominent tree growth. In response to this context, Maki and Associates conceived the Bihar Museum as a “campus” – an interconnected landscape of buildings and exterior spaces that maintains a modest but dynamic profile, in harmony with existing site conditions.


Bihar Museum




Floor Plans

Zoning –

Each program zone (entrance / event, museum exhibition, administration, and children/educational) has been given a distinct presence, recognizable form in complex. These zones are linked together via interior and exterior courtyards and corridors, ensuring that all spaces retain a connection to the surrounding landscape while remaining sheltered and comfortable throughout the year.


Bihar Museum, Floor plan

Axonometric view – All floors


Bihar Museum, Bridge

Bridge connecting exhibition wings


Bihar Museum, Connecting bridge

Water body in the courtyard

This constant presence of natural environment within Museum “campus” creates rich, unique experience with each visit, one that changes with time and seasons.

Bihar Museum, Exterior facade

Central courtyards

It is hoped that this will encourage repeat visitors, and – together with world-class permanent and temporary exhibits – ensure that the Bihar Museum has a lasting educational impact for the children of Bihar and other visitors from across the world.

Main lobby – Entrance


Museum design, Bihar museum

Exhibition spaces-1


Bihar Museum, Museum design, Exhibit, Art and crafts display

Exhibition spaces-2

Exterior’s – 

The Museum’s exterior is characterized by extensive use of weathering steel, a durable material that complements its context and creates a dignified contrast to the surrounding greenery.

Connecting bridge, Internal courtyard, Landscape design

Buddha courtyard below the bridge

The weathering steel symbolizes India’s historical achievements in metallurgy as well as its current prominence within the international steel industry (of which Bihar’s rich natural resources have played a critical role). It is supplemented with stone, terracotta, and glass finishes – a modern material palette with clear connections to Bihar’s past and future.

Bihar Museum, Exterior facade, Maki and Associates

Corten steel, stone, terracotta and glass finishes for exteriors

The project was selected as the winner of an International competition in 2011 (other competitors were Coop Himmelblau, Norman Foster and Partners, Snohetta, and Studio Daniel Libeskind). The building began construction in June 2013 and was largely complete by October 2017. Exhibition installation is on-going and will be completed in 2018.

Exhibit design, Exhibition, Lighting design, Maki and Associates, Bihar Museum

Exhibition spaces-3


Bihar Museum, Corridor, Maki and Associates

Cloister – a covered walk along a colonnade in the museum


Cafeteria, Dining space

Visitor cafeteria


Stairs, Wood stairs, Display, Exhibit design

Exhibit along the staircase, Floor tiles adorn rangoli

A trip through the museum clearly shows the vision of design to celebrate ancient past and to inculcate a sense of pride in modern-day Bihari’s.

Project details –


Project Name – The Bihar Museum

Location – Jawaharlal Nehru Marg , (Bailey Road), Patna, Bihar

Client name – Department of Art, Culture, and Youth (DACY), Government of Bihar, India

Architect Firm – Maki and Associates in association with Opolis (Tokyo, Japan and Mumbai)

Design Team –

Maki & Associates (Tokyo, Japan) –

Fumihiko Maki-Principal, Tomoyoshi Fukunaga-Director, Michel van Ackere-Associate, Tatsutomo Hasegawa-Associate, Hisashi Nakai, Yoshihiko Taira, Issei Horikoshi

Opolis (Mumbai, India) –

Rahul Gore-Principal, Sonal Sancheti-Principal, Tejesh Patil-Project Architect, Rahul Lawhare, Swapnil Kangankar, Akul Modi

Project type – Arts and Culture center, Art gallery, Educational building, Museum

Completion Year – Buildings – 2017 | Exhibitions – 2018

Built up Area – 25,410 sq.m. | Site area – 53,480 sq.m. | Roof area – 19,716 sq.m.

Consultants –

Programming / Master Planning / Exhibition Design – Lord Cultural Resources (Mumbai / Toronto)

Structural – Mahendra Raj Consultants Private Limited (New Delhi)

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) – Design Bureau, Mumbai

Landscape – Ohtori Consultants Inc. Environmental Design Institute (Osaka) | Forethought Design Consultants (Pune)

Lighting – AWA Lighting Designers (Mumbai / New York)

Photography Credits – © Ariel Huber, Lausanne

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