Riverside Museum

by | 13. Aug 2012

Cultural | Feature

Photo by McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer

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.

The historic development of the Clyde and the city of Glasgow is a unique legacy. Located where the Kelvin joins the Clyde, the museum’s design flows from the city to the river; symbolizing a dynamic relationship where the museum is the voice of both, connecting the city to the river and also the transition from one to the other.

Hawkeye Aerial Photography

The museum 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.

The Tall Ship Glenlee is moored in front of the museum’s south facade, bringing her together, for the very first time, with the city’s unrivalled ship model collection. The Glenlee is one of only five “Clyde Built” sailing vessels afloat in the world today and the only one in the UK.

Hawkeye Aerial Photography
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.

Photo ©Hufton + Crow
Photo © Hufton + Crow
Photo © McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer
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 could be seen as a cityscape and is a responsive gesture to encapsulate waves on water.

Photo © Hufton + Crow
Photo © McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer
Photo © McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer
The outer waves or “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.

Photo © McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer
The main contractors, BAM, described the building of the massive, 2,500 tons steel roof, without any internal supporting columns, as the most challenging engineering feat in the UK today.

Photo © Hufton + Crow
Photo © Hufton + Crow
Photo © Hufton + Crow
The form of the roof structure is roughly z-shaped in plan with structural mullions at each end that not only support the roof, but also allow the glazed end facades to be supported without the need for any secondary members. In section the roof is a series of continuous ridges and valleys that constantly vary in height and width from one gable to the other with no two lines of rafters being geometrically the same.

The history of Glasgow is profoundly interlinked with the history of the Clyde, and together they have informed the museum’s design. I wanted the building to reflect the importance of its location and allow for the innovative and inspirational display of its outstanding collection.

The fluid design continues Glasgow’s rich engineering traditions; a true demonstration and celebration of the skills and passion of local engineers and contractors who helped to bring this building to life.

/Zaha Hadid

Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid ArchitectsSite Plan
Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid ArchitectsGround Floor Plan
Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid ArchitectsRoof Plan
Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid ArchitectsSection
Image courtesy Zaha Hadid ArchitectsPresentation Diagram
Image courtesy Zaha Hadid ArchitectsPresentation Diagram
Model photo courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

Model photo courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects


ARCHITECTJohannes Hoffmann