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Zaha Hadid Architects

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Riverside Museum welcomed 1.3 million visitors in 2018

For the eighth consecutive year, the Riverside Museum in Glasgow has welcomed over a million visitors to its exhibitions and events.

Winner of the European Museum of the Year 2013, the Riverside has become one of Scotland’s most popular cultural hubs and tourist attractions since opening to the public in 2011.

The New Yorker Magazine explained at the Riverside’s opening: “The building is visually striking, and inside it yields a space that is both dramatic and functional—with the capaciousness of a warehouse but also a sense of movement… the building reveals itself to you as you move through it and experience its curves. The glass walls at either end bring in plenty of daylight, and through the one facing the river you can see a huge nineteenth-century sailing ship permanently anchored next to the museum. There is something sentimental at the heart of any museum whose reason for being is to celebrate the affection we feel for objects that were once part of everyday life, but the Riverside Museum has a boldness that transcends coy nostalgia. This is powerful architecture built to house powerful things. Its easy, flowing quality reminds you that the purpose of this museum is to give these streetcars and fire engines new life in a post-industrial world, in which they are honored rather than used. You begin to understand what Zaha Hadid was trying to do when you look across the river to the lone remaining shipyard, where amid the cranes and drydocks stands a huge metal shed with a zigzagging roof, used for framing hulls. She took the shed as a starting point, but any architect with a pair of eyes could have done that. What Hadid saw was that, in echoing the shed, it was possible to arrive at a perfect metaphor for the evolution of an old industrial city like Glasgow. The city has gone from being a place where people labor at making things to a place where people come to be entertained; Hadid has taken something hard, tough, and workaday and made it fluid and inviting.”

Riverside Museum website

New Yorker Magazine 

European Museum of the Year

Photography by Alan McAteer