Down by the riverside

07 Jan 2010

by Vivienne Nicol, Evening Times

Less than three years ago work began on a derelict piece of land in Glasgow's West End, where the rivers Clyde and Kelvin meet.

This year the workers will pack up their tools and hand over the keys of the new £74million Riverside Museum, which will replace the existing Museum of Transport at the Kelvin Hall.

Early work in 2007 involved replacing quay walls and excavating 6000 tonnes of material - the weight of 700 double-decker buses.

Massive underground trenches were created to take all the services for the new building and by May 2008 a faint outline had emerged of what would become the Riverside.

It would take another few months before the public would see the steelwork of the structure rising from the ground and begin to get a sense of the new building.

Around 100 workers toiled, sometimes in atrocious conditions, to get the 2500 tonnes of steel that make up the skeleton of the complex structure into place.

One of the worst spells of weather was in September 2008, when it rained incessantly for days.

Jim Ward, construction manager of main contractor BAM, said at the time: "We were pouring concrete and erecting steel in horrendous conditions and the guys had mud up to their knees."

By January last year, the first of several layers of what would become the walls of the new museum had begun to be erected and by June the final piece of steelwork was fitted into the main structure.

The design by Zaha Hadid, one of the world's leading architects, required the building to be clad in zinc and by November that job was almost half complete.

Meanwhile, work continued in other areas and by the end of the year, the new museum was wind and watertight and fitted with massive floor to ceiling windows, giving stunning views along the Clyde.

The building is due to be finished in August, when it will be handed over to Culture and Sport Glasgow.

Staff will then begin the massive task of moving 3000 exhibits - trains, trams, buses, cars and other artefacts - into their new home, a project that will take until spring 2011.

The existing Transport Museum is the second most popular free attraction in Scotland, beaten only by the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Visitor numbers for its replacement are expected to hit around one million a year, ensuring it holds on to that title.

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald and Times Group.

  • Construction continues apace at the Riverside Museum

Project Details
  • Riverside Museum