Imperial War Museum North

Manchester, United Kingdom


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