All aboard Zaha Hadid’s Riverside Museum, Scotland
London-based architectural practice Zaha Hadid’s The Riverside Museum, in Glasgow has won the European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) at ceremony in Tongeren, Belgium.
The building, open at opposite ends, has a tunnel-like configuration between the city and the Clyde. However, within this connection between the city and river, the building diverts to create a journey away from its external context into the world of the exhibits. Here, the internal path within the museum becomes a mediator between city and river, which can either be hermetic or porous depending on the exhibition layout. Thus, the museum positions itself symbolically and functionally as open and fluid, engaging its context and content to ensure it is profoundly interlinked with not only Glasgow’s history, but also its future. Visitors build up a gradual sense of the external context as they move through the museum from exhibit to exhibit.
The design is a sectional extrusion, open at opposing ends along a diverted linear path. This cross-sectional outline is a responsive gesture to encapsulate a wave or ‘pleats’. The outer ‘pleats’ are enclosed to accommodate support services and the ‘black box’ exhibits. This leaves the main central space column-free and open, offering greatest flexibility to exhibit the museum’s world-class collection.
The £74 million museum is Hadid’s first major public commission to have opened in the UK. It houses more than 3,000 exhibits, in over 150 interactive displays telling the stories of the people who made the term ‘Clyde Built’ one which travelled the world and spoke volumes about unbeatable quality. From massive steam locomotives, to the recreation of a city street during the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of what was the ‘Second City of the Empire’.
The museum reveals the rich and varied stories of Glasgow’s great achievements and vibrant spirit; of technological breakthroughs and heartbreaking tragedies; of local heroes and global giants. Many of these tales are told through audiovisual displays, hands-on interactive and digital touch screens. The displays will be accessible and many are designed to engage children and young people and to give a better experience for disabled visitors.
The museum’s major attractions have been designed and built into the structure of the building – with some arriving before the completion of the structure, such is their size. Highlights include, the Wall of Cars, the hanging Bicycle Velodrome, South African Locomotive, No9 Tank Engine, Motorbike Deck, Ship Launch Show, the Rest and Be Thankful, and three re-created period streets.
Since its opening in 2011, over two million people have visited the new Riverside Museum which showcases Glasgow’s transport, shipbuilding and engineering heritage.
Images courtesy of Helene Binet, Alan McAteer and Hufton + Crow
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