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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Scotland by Zaha Hadid Architects

March 27th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

More projects by Zaha Hadid

The historical development of the Clyde and the city is a unique legacy; with the site situated where the Kelvin flows into the Clyde the building can flow from the city to the river. In doing so it can symbolise a dynamic relationship where the museum is the voice of both, linking the two sides and allowing the museum to be the transition from one to the other. By doing so the museum places itself in the very context of its origin and encourages connectivity between its exhibits and their wider context.

Riverside Museum - Image Courtesy Helene Binet

  • Project Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Project: Riverside Museum
  • Location: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Client: Glasgow City Council
  • Design: Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Project Director: Jim Heverin
  • Photographer: Helene Binet
  • Program: Exhibition space, cafe, retail, education
  • Competition Team: Malca Mizrahi, Michele Pasca di Magliano, Viviana R. Muscettola, Mariana Ibanez, Larissa Henke
  • 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


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


  • Total Area: 11 000 m2
  • Exhibition Area: 7000 m2
  • Site Area: 22,400 m2
  • Footprint Area: 7,800 m2


  • Steel Frame
  • Corrugated Metal Decking
  • Zinc Cladding
  • Glass-reinforced gypsum interior surfaces

Aerial View, Image Courtesy Helene Binet

The building would be a tunnel-like shed, which is open at opposite ends to the city and the Clyde. In doing so it becomes porous to its context on either side. However, the connection from one to the other is where the building diverts to create a journey away from the external context into the world of the exhibits. Here the interior path becomes a mediator between the city and the 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 with its engagement of context and content.

Aerial View, Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Building: The building is conceived as a sectional extrusion open at opposing ends along a diverted linear path. The cross-sectional outline is a respon­sive gesture to encapsulating a wave or a ‘pleated’ movement. The outer pleats are enclosed to accommodate the support services and black box exhibits. This leaves the main central space to be column-free and open.

Aerial View, Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Circulation is through the main exhibition space. Openings are envisaged in the roof and walls as appropriate. It is perceived that there should be views out of the exhibition space. These would allow the visitors to build up a gradual sense of the external context, moving from exhibit to exhibit. All openings would be solar controlled so that total black out could be achieved when required. At the end, with a view of the Clyde and the Kelvin, is the café and corporate entertainment space. These also allow access and overflow into the open courtyard. The end elevation is like the front elevation with an expan­sive clear glass façade. It has a large overhang to reduce solar exposure to the building interior. It will allow expansive views up and down the Clyde.

Aerial View, Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Landscape: The landscape is designed to direct the activities surrounding the building. A ring of varying stones slabs creates a shadow path around the building. On the west side the hard surface progresses to a soft landscape of grass to create an informal open courtyard space. A line of trees will be added alongside the existing ferry quay to reduce the exposure of this area to prevailing winds. Along the south side and the east, shallow water pool features are used to give continuity with the river at quay level.

Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Image Courtesy Helene Binet

Competition North Facade

South Night


Location Plan


Ground Floor Plan

More projects by Zaha Hadid

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Categories: Cafe, Exhibition Center, Museum, Retail, Zaha Hadid

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