By Vivienne Nicol, Evening Times
A few short months ago, it was a hole in the ground. Today the
site of Glasgow's new transport museum has the partial skeleton of
a huge structure which will be one of Britain's great
Work started last year on the £74million Riverside Museum which
will replace the Transport Museum in Glasgow's West End.
The new building sits where the Clyde and the River Kelvin meet
and in a couple of months the final piece of steelwork will be put
in place, with the occasion to be marked with a topping out
Jim Ward, construction manager for contractor BAM, says it will
be like launching a ship.
He said: "It will be a landmark for the project - a significant
event in the construction process.
"That is when the guys will get together and celebrate the
success of the project getting to such an important position."
Work on finishing the massive frame of the building will then
press ahead until July. The enormous ground floor slab of the new
museum is in place as is the central section of the building.
Around 100 men and five cranes are now working to complete its
north and south wings.
Mr Ward said: "The building work has gone really well.
"We are pleased to get to this stage and pleased to see what is
a complex structure going up. Now we can start working on the zinc
cladding on the roof and the walls."
Normally, the cladding would be manufactured off site and
transported to its destination.
But roofing and cladding sub contractor Varla from Chester has
set up a manufacturing plant on site and will cut and mould 24,000
pieces of what will become a colossal jigsaw.
The silver sections, to cover 16,500sq m of the Riverside Museum
and weighing 45 tonnes, will transform it into a space age
structure. Around 10 workmen will produce the panels and double
that number will fit the zinc - the first piece of which will be in
place early in May.
Mr Ward says that while the Riverside uses traditional
materials, there is little traditional in the way they are
He said: "We stretch them, twist them and elongate them in
different ways. Nothing is normal about this building. It is a
great adventure for us.
"That is down to the design of architect Zaha Hadid who has
devised something iconic.
"It will be a civic structure Glaswegians will take to their
A tradition in Glasgow is for new buildings to be renamed - such
as Clyde Auditorium being known as the Armadillo and the Clyde Arc
being the Squinty Bridge.
Mr Ward believes it is almost certain the unusual looking
Riverside Museum, due to open in 2011, will also find a special
place in the hearts of local people.
He said: "We are hoping it gets a pet name."
Reproduced with the permission of the Herald & Times