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Tackling the geometry of the design was half the battle at the monumental Imperial War Museum (North).

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General Information

The design of the iconic new Imperial War Museum (North) in Manchester is based on the idea of a world torn apart by conflict.

Clad in shimmering aluminium, three giant shards of a shattered globe represent the elements of earth, water and air.

Visionary architect Daniel Libeskind’s first major British project, this sculptural landmark rises to 55m above ground and is defined by a series of geometric shapes including flat planes, spheres and cylinders.

Fast facts

Imperial War Museum
2000 - 2002
Midlands & North West
Sport & Leisure

Technically challenging, the design demanded precision construction with minimal tolerances.

The ability to define the detail of the intersections between the building’s different geometric shapes and then provide a solution was one of the main challenges for the design and construction teams.

The precise alignment of fixings and level of detailing required to prefabricate and pre-drill the cladding components, for example, was key to delivery.

In a sustainable use of local resources, “free cooling” from the adjacent Manchester Ship Canal helps regulate the temperature in the building. Cooler water from 3-4m below the canal surface travels through a series of plate exchangers to keep the building cool in the summer.

The Imperial War Museum North won the Building Award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2003, the judges calling it: “A stupendous anti-war museum demonstrating the social history of war and conflict since 1917 delivered to a very limited budget.”

The museum was also honoured with a Civic Trust Award in 2004.