Imperial War Museum North

The Imperial War Museum North, dealing with the conflicts that have shaped the 20th century and will continue to shape the future, is supported by a broad vision. The building must bring together culture and regeneration, craft and design, in order to offer the public a striking emblem that instantly illuminates both tradition and the new.
As Paul Valéry pointed out, the world is permanently threatened by two dangers: order and disorder. This project develops the realm of the in-between, the realm of democratic openness, plurality and potential. By navigating the course between rigid totalities on the one hand and the chaos of events on the other, this building reflects an evolving identity open to profound public participation, access and education. The museum is therefore a catalyst for focusing energies, both entrepreneurial and spiritual, and moulding them into a creative expression.

The museum is fundamentally based on this world – the contemporary world shattered into fragments and reassembled as a fundamental emblem of conflict. These fragments, shards or traces of history, are in turn assembled on and projected beyond the site. An entirely new landscape will provide an environment in which the participatory experience of the public begins long before the visitors enter through the actual doors. The building exists on the horizon of the imagination and is visible across the strategic points of the city and its surroundings.

The building is a constellation composed of three interlocking shards. The Earth shard forms the generous and flexible museum space. It signifies the open, earthly realm of conflict and war. The Air shard with its projected images, observatory and education spaces serves as a dramatic entry into the museum. The Water shard forms a platform for viewing the Canal with its restaurant, café, deck and performance space.