Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects


Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects have completed the Riverside Museum in Glasgow with a zig-zagging, zinc-clad roof.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Housing a museum of transport with over 3,000 exhibits, the building has a 36 metre-high glazed frontage overlooking the River Clyde.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

The building zig-zags back across its site from this pointy roofline in folds clad with patinated zinc panels.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Strips of lighting inside follow seams in the green underside of the undulating roof.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Photographs are by Hufton + Crow unless otherwise stated.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Here are some more details from Zaha Hadid Architects:

Riverside Museum
Glasgow, Scotland

The Riverside Museum is derived from its context. 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. The museum is situated in very context of its origins, with its design actively encouraging connectivity between the exhibits and the wider environment.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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 a waves on water. 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.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid says: “Through architecture, we can investigate future possibilities yet also explore the cultural foundations that have defined the city. The Riverside Museum is a fantastic and truly unique project where the exhibits and building come together at this prominent and historic location on the Clyde to enthuse and inspire all visitors. The design, combining geometric complexity with structural ingenuity and material authenticity, continues Glasgow’s rich engineering traditions and will be a part of the city’s future as a centre of innovation.”

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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 façades 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. Generally the cross section is a pitched portal frame with a multi pitched rafter spanning between the portal and a perimeter column. There are also curved transition areas where the roof changes direction in plan.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

The rafters themselves are not straight in plan but a series of facets that change direction in each valley. To accommodate these changes in line and to facilitate the connection of any incoming bracing and other members, the rafters at the ridges and valleys are joined at the surface of a cylindrical ‘can’. The majority of these ‘cans’ were truly vertical in the preset geometry of the roof, however where the relative slopes either side of the ridge or valley would have generated inordinately long oblique cuts the ‘cans’ were inclined to bisect the angle between adjacent rafters.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

The diameter of most of the ‘cans’ was able to be standardised but, in cases of extreme geometry or where the sheer number of incoming members dictated, a larger diameter had to be used to allow all the incoming members to be welded directly to the ‘can’ wall. The most complicated valley connection had 10 incoming members that necessitated the use of a 1.0m diameter ‘can’ over 1.5m tall.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

By using vertical ‘cans’ in the valley positions a standard connection between the tops of the tubular support props and the roof structure was designed. This consisted of a thick circular base plate to the ‘can’ with a blind M24 tapped hole in its centre, thus allowing an 80mm diameter tapered shear pin to be bolted directly to the base of the ‘can’.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

Above image is by Hawkeye Aerial Photography

The accuracy of fabrication was achieved by using a combination of shop jigs and EDM setting out techniques. All the complex rafter members were assembled in shop jigs whilst the geometry of the more simple members was set using EDM’s that were able to set the positions of certain critical splice connection holes. This was made possible by adding virtual “wires” through the centres of some of the holes during the X-Steel modelling. These wires allowed the EDM operator to check its end position in space when a circular prism was placed in the hole. Using this technology it was possible to accurately position the remote end of a steel member to ± 2mm in any direction.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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The more complex members were assembled using shop jigs. These jigs were created by extracting a single member (assembly) from the X-Steel model, rotating it in space to create a single reference plane and then modelling in a secondary steelwork “frame” that the individual pieces (fittings) of the assembly could either be supported on or bolted to.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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The whole of the building structure is supported on piles with none of the slabs having been designed as ground bearing. The columns are generally founded on individual pile caps with the slab spanning between individual piles so to allow the erection of the roof to be carried out from within the footprint of the building. The ground floor slab was designed to accommodate multiple 10.0 tonne loads at a minimum of 1.8m centres.

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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Program: Exhibition space, cafe, retail, education
Client: Glasgow City Council
Architect: Design Zaha Hadid Architects

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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Project Director: Jim Heverin
Project Architect: Johannes Hoffmann

Project Team: Achim Gergen, Agnes Koltay, Alasdair Graham, Andreas Helgesson, Andy Summers, Aris Giorgiadis, Brandon Buck, Christina Beaumont, Chun Chiu, Claudia Wulf, Daniel Baerlaecken, Des Fagan, Electra Mikelides, Elke Presser, Gemma Douglas, Hinki Kwon, Jieun Lee, Johannes Hoffmann, Laymon Thaung, Liat Muller, Lole Mate, Malca Mizrahi, Markus Planteu, Matthias Frei, Michael Mader, Mikel Bennett, Ming Cheong, Naomi Fritz, Rebecca Haines-Gadd, Thomas Hale, Tyen Masten

Competition: Team Malca Mizrahi, Michele Pasca di Magliano, Viviana R. Muscettola, Mariana Ibanez, Larissa Henke

Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects

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Services: Buro Happold [Glasgow, UK]
Acoustics: Buro Happold [Bath, UK]
Fire Safety: FEDRA, Glasgow
Cost Consultants: Capita Symonds
Project Management: Capita Symonds

Size/Area : Gross floor area 11,300 m2 (excluding basement)
Exhibition Area 6600 m2 (including public areas and café)
Site Area 22,400 m2
Footprint Area 7,800 m2

Materials: Steel Frame, Corrugated Metal Decking, Zinc Cladding, Glass-reinforced gypsum interior surfaces

  • Mario De Vries

    Absolutely wow! All things come to an end so why not make beautiful and outragiously expensive buidlings?

  • karl

    Is so fascinating that she, in between her terrible, outdated blobbish buildings every once in a while pulls such beauty out of her sleeve. Previous such buildings would be the Vitra and the Maxxi, in my book this one looks like even more beautiful than those.

  • Call me juvenile, but the facade looks like a giant hand, flipping 'the bird' to the sky… which would have been even funnier if the building was a church, instead of a museum :P

  • Drew Harper

    I live near this building, and quite frankly it's horrible. It has no connection to it's environment and looks completely obnoxious. I used to be a Zaha Hadid fan, but seeing what good photography did to this building I'm suddenly skeptical of her other projects.

    Shame, really, was very excited when I found out she was the architect initially.

  • love the softness of the roofs

  • Ummmm

    Fascinating and inspiring, wonderful. It must be very expensive, though.

  • Seeing the frontal view I didn’t recognize her style, but the top view is typically Zaha… It’s an intriguing architecture!

    • Alav

      absolutely agree with you,Francois!

  • boo

    I had grown tired of the works of Zaha Hadid (all those soft lines), but this is brilliant! I don't often laugh with pleasure when viewing images of a public space.

  • felix

    huge building, and only three interior photos? two of which are of the ceiling. are they embarrassed? the green is a little sickly but ok really.

    the zinc is nice. i think it's a shame the building looks so badly integrated into its surroundings. a museum is a public place, especially one next to the river. it doesn't look like there's any promenades, cafes, etc.
    there's barely any seating.

    i like the explanation of using the prism to locate steels.

  • above and beyond

    Why is there only one proper shot of the space inside that's not staring up at the ceiling? I get the feeling it's because it's just a flat bottomed shed with a curvy roof. Or is there more to it?

  • Incredible museum architecture. Beautiful and so well conceived for the site. I'm amazed at the complexity of the design and construction and would love to learn more about management of the many contractors. I think the GC and PM probably deserve awards as well as the architects.

  • onig

    Venturi's "Decorated Duck" all over again!
    I thought 'Post-modern' is over ages ago……now I was wrong,
    It is thriving! shame….

  • teefs

    Really brilliant and beautiful building. It's such a simple gesture, taking an industrial shed typology and playing with it, but it works so well. Sexiest shed in the world!

  • Always like her work, but have never been a fan of trapping water or snow on a roof!

  • vaishali khutal

    nice organic flow…………

  • Leonard

    Pardon me but I don't find anything exciting about the building. I have seen it myself in January. The best part of the design is perhaps from the bird's eye view, which unfortunately, will not be able to be seen by anyone except birds. On the ground floor it just looks like a factory, especially with the plain facade treatment and the material. I suppose the section is also quite boring because Zaha herself doesn't even bother to upload any sectional cut in her website except the aerial view perspectives.

  • RJT

    This structure was not in fact designed for this site or function. Instead, superficially transformed from a project in a different country with a different program. Poor architecture, shamefully sold to a great city.

  • guomao

    i like the bikes more.

  • The form is very relevant to the content. This shows very well in the interior views. However can the beautiful roof be appreciated from the street level? It would be nice if there was some kind of access to it…Simple and effective building. I like.

  • loos

    i quiet like the zinc cladding as well, it looks like it has put together nicely. but why does the building has to be so isolated from the river front? in my opinion it doesn't bring any quality to its site other than being a nicely built warehouse. the second problem is that the roof is so complex and does all these gymnastics for exactly what reason? it just looks like it is mimicking some industrial typology but even this is done rather naive and too superficial. it could all be made much more interesting but the project is so self indulgent and gets lost in its own language that it completely misses all the opportunities around.

  • Karlo

    J. Mayer H. Copy !

    • dex

      that guy didn't even finish his studies yet when this was designed (which was ages ago)

  • XXX

    Where are all the people gone? Looks like a ghost town…

  • Erik

    This project was designed in the early 00's and the result is more like the Vitra and MAXXI projects. It's an example of how Zaha was more an architect and less a rendering blobs person.

  • arjun

    looks very sexy from a birds eye view but otherwise its just a shed with a funky roof. i do like the way the shape of the building has convoluted itself to fit the site but the roof geometry is way too forced and is signature zaha. there is also no semblance of landscape,foreground,plaza,context or anything that renders this structure humane.
    its beautifully finished but a complete let down as an idea.

  • Val

    love it or hate it, this is the future.

  • Wolfgang Smesny

    Although being a fan of Zaha, I think it is not one of her best projects. I agree with other comments here, which state that the ordinary visitor cannot see the bird's eye view. Maybe something should be done to improve the landscaping surrounding the place.

  • kopgel

    of course it's great!

    and Zaha Hadid talks about Riverside Museum design:

  • mhadheb abdelmoumen

    la force de la simplicité …….

  • xxx

    Do free helicopter rides come with the price of admission so you can see the view of the roof?

  • Tom

    Design over functionality! lack of light, access to to exhibits which is what the prime directive should be.Lost opportunity, the old museum was better.

  • What a simple Zigzag design that hold that much of greatness by form the roof as a series of continuous ridges and valleys ..Its transparency is reflected by the enormous glass façade that is wrapped with elegant steel frame.

  • garcbeyond

    how about the rain? there will be rivers running on the roof when it rains.

  • ross

    Aerial shots, I rarely fly over the buildings I visit!!!

    Baroque got it right, ornate where it matters and brick where you don't notice.

    No interior shots reveal that its nothing but a roof?

    In which case, it leaves it wanting!!!

  • Another museum eclipsing its collection.

  • CUBA

    Don’t be fooled by the great photographs; this building is really disapointing. Please come and visit the city. The old car museum at Kelvingrove was so much better. All this Zaha style is not fancy at all. Zinc cladding, really?