Imperial War Museum

by | 18. Jul 2012

Cultural | Feature

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Photo: arcspace

The Imperial War Museum is located on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal on the Trafford wharfside of Salford Quays. The design concept is based on the globe, broken into three fragments to depict the shattering effect of war on the history of the world.

The steel-framed aluminum clad building is composed of free-flowing forms and asymmetric geometry. The three fragments, or “Shards”, are structurally interlocked to represent world conflict on land, water and in the air.

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo: arcspace

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Visitors enter through the Air Shard, which is 55 meters high and open to the elements. The tower construction of criss-crossing steel beams, 4.5 degrees off the vertical, incases the elevator, leading to a viewing platform 29 meters in the air, and the cement tower containing the staircase. The views across the Manchester Ship Canal to Manchester city centre are spectacular…looking down through the meshed steel floor is rather scary.

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Photo: arcspace

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The curved Earth Shard houses the main public areas of the Museum – the Main Exhibition Space and the Special Exhibition Gallery. The gallery floors are curved, to experience the curvature of the earth, the lighting is low-key.

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo courtesy IWM

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Photo: arcspace

The IWM is furnished with iconic objects that include an AV8a Harrier jump-jet, the artillery piece that fired the first British shell of the First World War and a Russian T34 tank.

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo: arcspace

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Photo: arcspace

The Water Shard, overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal, contains the restaurant and a café.

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Photo: arcspace

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Plan courtesy IWM


COUNTRYUnited Kingdom
ARCHITECTLeach Rhodes Walker, Manchester