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Nizam Museum, India

Arriving at the site for the first time it became apparent that the sheet rock area of the site designated for the museum was about to be dynamited along with the adjacent site for a new commercial building already under construction. The excavation was stopped and the boulder and sheet rock site for this 30,000 sq ft museum to house the world famous jewelry collection of the late Nizam VII was saved and the building concept quickly became apparent.

The jewels are to be displayed below ground in a bare rock gallery, carved out of the sheet rock of the site, on platforms suspended within the rock ‘cave’ but not touching it. Above ground, ‘planes’ of public spaces ‘float’ over the gallery enclosed within a glass box highlighting to the city and beyond its function.

Natural light is brought down into the dark dank jewelry gallery via numerous light shafts angled to the sun path at different times of the day and year, creating an ever-changing ambiance with direct and diffuse natural light ensuring no two visits to the gallery will be the same. The light shafts are also the structural columns supporting both public platforms above ground and the jewelry platforms below ground thus linking, by light & structure, the public & private realms.