Following an international design competition, Imperial War Museum North (IWMN) selected Topotek 1 as the preferred design team to develop the external spaces of the museum in Trafford. The selection panel felt that Topotek 1′s scheme, Camouflage Strategy, best addressed the need for zones of contemplation, creativity and play which would complement the Daniel Libeskind building.
Further project description after the break.
The IWMN illustrates how wars and conflicts have been and still are shaping people’s lives. The external spaces aspire to reflect that key message to expand the visitor’s experience beyond the walls of the internal spaces. IWMN Director, Jim Forrester stated, “Our stunning Libeskind building continues to generate much interest and argument…The challenge is to make the outside areas of the museum as striking, memorable and rewarding as the building and its displays already are.”
Topotek 1′s proposal addresses the fact that war not only re-configures boundary lines, but also re-shapes the landscapes where the battles are fought. ”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,” stated Topotek 1.
Four themes were selected that represent the British landscape: stone, fields, water, and forest. These four elements are arranged in a system of tilting planes, similar to camouflage, that create a continuous base for the museum. “Subtle shifts in elevation and angle accommodate a variety of programs 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,” explained Topotek 1.
Initial design concepts for the exterior include a walkway with access across the water frontage, a landscaped garden built over the parking garage to provide views, a children’s play area, and a water-sculpture as a focus for contemplation and reflection. Topotek 1 will now move toward finalizing these schemes with the help of IWMN. The opening of the first phase of development of the outside areas is slated to coincide with the opening of MediaCity:UK in 2011.
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