Construction of the museum was carried out for Glasgow City Council by Main Contractors BAM Construction. The project has been commended as one of the most responsible construction sites inBritain.
The museum, at 100 Pointhouse Place, has 7,500 square metres of public space, which is located mostly on the ground floor.
The Zaha Hadid-designed building houses around 3,000 exhibits in approximately 150 displays. It is the third home for the transport museum sinceGlasgowfirst opened it in the 1960s. Riverside Museum is the first purpose built transport museum in Glasgow and is the first major museum Glasgow has built since The Burrell Collection opened in 1983.
The new museum has a deep wall and roof makeup and triple thickness glass that help to stabilise the environment within the building and conserve heat. The glazing is heavy filtered to contain solar-gain, particularly on the south-facing façade.
Because high light levels damage materials such as textiles, wood and paper, light levels will be set low enough to reduce damage, but high enough to make it easy for visitors to get around. The cold cathode lighting chosen is energy efficient and has very long life.
Much of the display lighting uses innovative low-power LED technology to reduce power consumption and further stabilise the environment inside the building.
The museum is one of the most complex structures built in the UK. Its self-supporting roof is made up of a latticework of structural steel (weighing over 2,500 tonnes) and beneath the museum is 1.2km of underground trenches for the services. The outer ‘skin’ of the museum consists of 24,000 zinc panels, weighing around 185 tonnes. Most of them are bespoke and were engineered on site due to the building’s flowing, undulating design.
In January 2010, the project was given a 5 out of 5 inspection by the independent Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS). The CCS’s report highlighted Riverside Museum’s considerate use of building materials, which included recycling wood rather than sending it to a landfill. The CCS grading, which also looked at cleanliness and safety, means that Riverside Museum was one of the most responsible construction sites in Britain.
Buro Happhold are the exhibition designers for the project, which now displays more than three thousand artifacts, from skateboards to locomotives. The exhibition features a recreated 1900s street for visitors to walk down, where they will be able to interact with characters and take part in the happenings that will explain Glasgow’s maritime history. High tech, hands-on displays are set up to appeal to all the family, examining the past but also encouraging visitors to look forward to what the future may have in store for the city.
An exciting recent addition to the attractions on offer, the Tall Ship Glenlee is now moored at the Riverside Museum, and it has been welcoming the public on board since June.