Imperial War Museum North

IWM North is an admirable attempt to bring world-class architecture to the city. (Salford and Manchester differences aside) It sits across the water from The Lowry and is reached by a footbridge designed to connect the two. The building itself, as an icon, succeeds; the form and spatial experiences can be indelibly inscribed to the visitors’ memory. Clad almost entirely in aluminium the powerful shard forms reflect the light and are reflected in the water in a truly dynamic fashion. The scheme ultimately realises its true triumph within the highly theatrical internalised spaces of the exhibition hall, yet also acknowledges its internal-external relationship with, the now ubiquitous, viewing tower. The conceptual diagram was apparently inspired by a fractured globe, symbolic of war; quite whether this translates to the visitor with the same resonance as Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin (2001) and its conceptual realisation, is questionable. Nonetheless, here the architects have realised a scheme that appears to have subverted the normal legislative constraints of UK regulations to largely positive effect.