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12 June 2009

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org


The multi-award winning Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) has selected a preferred design team to develop the external spaces of the Museum following an RIBA international design competition and public consultation with visitors and key partners.

The proposed scheme was the one which, in the opinion of the selection panel, best addressed a complex brief asking for zones of contemplation, creativity and play which would complement the Daniel Libeskind building. Jim Forrester, Director of IWM North, said: „ Having taken submissions from UK and international design teams, the selection panel felt that Topotek 1, based in Berlin, had come up with a great initial concept and were ready to adapt their imaginative ideas to suit the fast-changing environment around the museum. We are very confident that we can work with the Topotek 1 team to arrive at an excellent scheme which will enhance the whole Quays' experience."

Topotek 1?s original submission stated:
"The camouflage patterns used by the military are an abstraction of landscapes of combat. These patterns represent a visual average of the natural environment: the muted green, brown, and ochre hues of typical camouflage are a graphic summary of wild and cultivated places. We wish to confront the global scale of war represented by the building with the local scale where battles are fought. War does not only re-configure lines on a world map, but changes everyday landscapes.

We have selected four themes that represent the British landscape: stone, fields, water, and forest. Like the camouflage pattern, these landscapes are condensed into their essential character, and reconfigured in a system of gently tilting planes. This system provides a soft, horizontal, and continuous base for the museum; subtle shifts in elevation and angle accommodate a variety of programmes in a relatively small area. The landscape forms a collage of dignified spaces for reflection, gathering, and play that complements the gravity of the museum's content."

The sense of experimental design that is enshrined in the architecture of IWMN continues to be an important consideration for the museum and the development of the external spaces. The new design will include:
-  a new quayside walkway with 24 –hour access across the water frontage
-  a landscaped garden built over the car-park to give elevated views of IWM North and MediaCity:UK beyond
-  a children's play area including sensory and kinetic elements
-  spaces for future exhibits and art installations 
-  a water-sculpture as a focus for contemplation and reflection.

These designs are initial concepts and IWMN will now begin the task of fundraising and seeking partners to help realise the project. Once funding has been secured, Topotek I will work closely with the Museum to develop the ideas and create the final scheme. The first phase of development of the outside areas is aimed at completion to coincide with the opening of MediaCity:UK in 2011.

IWMN is about people and their stories, about how lives have been and still are, shaped by war and conflict. The Museum is located in Trafford in the rapidly developing Quays regeneration area, and the development of MediaCity:uk on the Quays provides the opportunity to capitalise on the international focus that will soon be on the area, and to create a distinctive destination and context for the museum. The external spaces at IWMN must enhance the museum by reflecting its key message that war shapes lives, against its dramatic exterior, enhancing and expanding the visitor experience to beyond the walls of the internal spaces. There is an opportunity to do something dramatic and spectacular that will at the same time integrate with the extraordinary content and design of Daniel Libeskind?s iconic building which represents a globe shattered by conflict.

An international competition to design and develop the external spaces at IWMN was organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions Office. In September 2008 expressions of interest were received from over 50 architects and landscape architects. 5 shortlisted teams were then invited to come up with design ideas in response to a brief.

IWM North Director, Jim Forrester set the scene at the outset of the competition: "Our stunning Libeskind building continues to generate much interest and argument, and now, with the next phase of the Quays regeneration underway, we are ready to make more of its setting. The challenge is to make the outside areas of the museum as striking, memorable and rewarding as the building and its displays already are. To achieve this we are looking for remarkable designers with ideas which will give even more substance to our mission".

Notes to editors

The RIBA Competitions Office offers a tailored competition management service delivering excellence in design. Please ensure the RIBA is credited when mentioning the above competition. For further details visit www.architecture.com/competitions or contact Julia Davies on 0113 2341335.

The other shortlisted architects (whose designs were displayed anonymously to the public) were Kinnear Landscape Architects (London, UK), White Arkitekter AB (Goteborg, Sweden), Patel Taylor Architects (London, UK), and Field Operations (New York, USA).

Open 7 days a week from 10am - 6pm (Nov to Feb 10am - 5pm) with free admission.  The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1TZ (close to Harbour City Metrolink and Junction 9 of the M60).  T: 0161 836 4000.  E:iwmnorth@iwm.org.uk or visit www.iwm.org.uk|.

Imperial War Museum North, which opened to visitors on 5 July 2002, has fast become one of the most popular visitor attractions in the North West, already receiving over 1, 800,000 visitors. It is on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford, in a spectacular award-winning building designed by the internationally renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind.

The Museum tells the story of how war has affected the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. It is the 5th branch of the Imperial War Museum and the first outside the South East of England. Recently voted Large Visitor Attraction of the Year (Manchester Tourism Awards 2009), one of the top 10 buildings of the last century (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), other notable awards include a Special Commendation (second-only to First Prize) in the European Museum of the Year Awards 2004. The Museum has also been a finalist in the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize.

For further information on The Quays, Greater Manchester?s Waterfront, see www.thequays.org.uk

The national museum of the experiences of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since 1914.

The Imperial War Museum is the museum of everyone?s story: the history of modern war and people?s experience of war and wartime life in Britain and the Commonwealth. It is an educational and historical institution responsible for archives, collections and sites of outstanding national importance.

The Museum?s five branches include Imperial War Museum London which houses the award-winning Holocaust Exhibition; the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast; the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, housed in Churchill?s secret headquarters below Whitehall; Imperial War Museum Duxford, a world-renowned aviation and heritage complex, and Imperial War Museum North, a landmark Museum at The Quays in Manchester.

For further information on Topotek I see http://www.topotek1.de/


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