Imperial War Museum North

The Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) in Manchester, England, tells the story of how war has affected the lives of British and the Commonwealth citizens since 1914.

The design concept is a globe shattered into fragments and then reassembled. The interlocking of three of these fragments—representing earth, air, and water—comprise the building’s form. 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; and the Water Shard forms the platform for viewing the canal, complete with a restaurant, cafe, deck and performance space.

Since its completion in 2001, the IWMN has been named one of the top ten buildings of the last century (The Rough Guide to England, 2008) and one of the top three Large Visitor Attractions in England (Silver Award at VisitBritain’s Excellence in England Awards™ 2007).


2008 – Named one of the top 10 English buildings of the last 100 years in the 2008 Rough Guide
2007 – Silver Award for “Large Visitor attraction of the year”
2004 – RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award, Sterling Prize shortlist
2004 – RIBA Award, North West England
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

More about this project

Hiroshima Art Prize Exhibition

Daniel Libeskind: The 5th Hiroshima Art Prize, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, 2001

First architect to win the Hiroshima Art Prize, awarded to an artist whose work promotes international understanding and peace.

To commemorate the prize an impressive installation, comprised of large-scale models and drawings of four of Libeskind’s  projects: Felix Nussbaum Haus, Jewish Museum Berlin, Imperial War Museum North, and the planning for the extension to the Denver Art Museum.

Four Utopias for Each of the Six Stages of Existence

—Artist statement by Daniel Libeskind

This exhibition deals with the displacement which the space of Hiroshima initiated in the world and relates it to the displacement in architectural language. The displacement, or gap, is the space between planning and reality, model and object, space and its absence. To this end, the exhibition contrasts the hollowness of space and the physical presence of the idea of architecture and its reality. Neither model nor drawings, but the space in between is the navigational aspect of the permanent rift, but must remain in an oscillating inter-determination which one can call contemporary urban space.

This exhibition seeks to retrieve the past from an impossible future and form an architecture which is immune to complacency. Here, architecture is exposed to spatial, philosophical and political reflection centered on measure the immeasurable. The scale of the project changes in each room while presenting a series of forms that develop in momentum. Each for is enveloped by a text that gives resonance and social use to the tectonics of the program.

I have sought to create a different architecture for a time which would reflect an understanding of history after world catastrophe. The Holocaust was the premonition, and of course Hiroshima and Nagasaki came soon after. It underscores the necessity to create a different—and by different I mean ethical—architecture for the twenty-first century which is based on a fundamentally transformed political, cultural, and spiritual experience.

Publication: A catalogue to commemorate the exhibition entitled The 5th Hiroshima Art Prize Exhibition Catalogue: Four Utopias of the Six Stages of Existence, Daniel Libeskind, 2002, accompanied the exhibition

This exhibition traveled to NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC] Gallery in Tokyo, Japan in 2002

Daniel Libeskind

An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, literature, and poetry, Mr. Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, unique and sustainable.

Born in Lód’z, Poland, in 1946, Mr. Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager and, with his family, settled in the Bronx. He received the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship and performed as a musical virtuoso, before eventually leaving music to study architecture. He received his professional degree in architecture from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1970 and a postgraduate degree in the history and theory of architecture from the School of Comparative Studies at Essex University in England in 1972.

In 1989, Mr. Libeskind won the international competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. He moved his young family to Berlin and devoted more than a decade to the completion of this seminal design.  A series of influential museum commissions followed, including the Felix Nussbaum Haus, Osnabrück; Imperial War Museum North, Manchester; Denver Art Museum; Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; and the Military History Museum, Dresden.

In 2003, Studio Libeskind won another historic competition—to create a master plan for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.  In addition to a towering spire of 1,776 feet, the Libeskind design study proposed a complex program encompassing a memorial, underground museum, the integration of the slurry wall, special transit hub and four office towers.  This plan is being realized today.

Upon his move to New York, Studio Libeskind quickly became involved with designing and realizing a large number of commercial centers, such as Westside in Bern, the Crystals at City Center in Las Vegas, and Ko-Bogen in Düsseldorf, as well as residential towers in Busan, Singapore, Warsaw, Toronto, Manila and Sao Paulo.

As Principal Design Architect for Studio Libeskind, Mr. Libeskind speaks widely on the art of architecture in universities and professional summits.  His architecture and ideas have been the subject of many articles and exhibitions, influencing the field of architecture and the development of cities and culture.

Mr. Libeskind lives in New York with his wife and business partner, Nina Libeskind.  He is a licensed architect in the State of New York.