Studio Daniel Libeskind

Imperial War Museum North

Manchester, United Kingdom


Trafford Wharf Road
Manchester, United Kingdom

Building size

69,965 sq.ft


Steel structure on concrete. Aluminum cladding. Rendered facade

Architect of Record

Leach Rhodes Walker

Structural Engineer

ARUP (London/Manchester)




Completion Date


Project Brief

The Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) in Manchester, England, tells the story of how war has affected the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. The building was completed in 2001 and since that time was named one of the top 10 buildings of the last century (The Rough Guide to England, 2008) and one of the top 3 Large Visitor Attractions in England (Silver Award at VisitBritain’s Excellence in England Awards™ 2007).

The design concept is that of a globe which has been shattered into fragments and then reassembled. The building’s form is the interlocking of three of these fragments which represent earth, air, and water. These three shards together concretize the Twentieth century conflicts which have never taken place on an abstract piece of paper, but rather have been fought by men and women by land, sky and sea. The IWMN is a constellation composed of three interlocking shards of space. The Earth Shard forms the museum space, signifying the open, earthly realm of conflict and war. The Air Shard serves as a dramatic entry into the Museum, with its projected images, observatories and education spaces. The Water Shard forms the platform for viewing the Canal, complete with a restaurant, cafe, deck and performance space.


2007 - Silver Award for “Large Visitor attraction of the year”, 2004 - RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award, 2004 - Hot Dip galvanizing Awards - Galvanizers Association, 2003 - Building of the Year -  British Construction Industry, 2003 - Visitor Attraction of the Year, Northwest Tourism Board, 2003 – Archi Tech AV Award Best Overall