A Multimodal Appraisal of Zaha Hadid's Glasgow Riverside Museum—Criticism, Performance Evaluation, and Habitability




Salama, Ashraf M.
Salingaros, Nikos A.
MacLean, Laura

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High-profile projects promoted by governments, local municipalities, and the media do not always meet program requirements or user expectations. The Riverside Museum in Glasgow by Zaha Hadid Architects, which has generated significant discussion in the media, is used to test this claim. A multimodal inquiry adopts three factors: criticism, performance evaluation, and habitability. Results from this method are then correlated with visual attention scans using software from 3M Corporation to map unconscious user engagement. A wide spectrum of tools is employed, including a walking tour assessment procedure, contemplation of selected settings, navigational mapping, and assessing user emotional experiences. Key aspects of the design and spatial qualities of this museum are compared with an analysis of critical writings on how the project was portrayed in the media. Further, we examine socio-spatial practices, selected behavioral phenomena, and the emotional experiences that ensue from users' interaction with the building and its immediate context. The findings suggest design shortcomings and, more worrisome, that spatial qualities relevant to users' experiences do not seem to have been met. In going beyond the usual method of analysis, we apply new techniques of eye-tracking simulations, which verify results obtained by more traditional means. An in-depth analysis suggests the need for better compatibility between the imagined design ideas and the actual spatial environments in use.



architectural criticism, building performance, emotional mapping, eye-tracking, Glasgow Riverside Museum, human behavior in space, navigational mapping, post-occupancy evaluation, user-centered evaluation, visual attention scans, visual engagement, Zaha Hadid


Buildings 13 (1): 173 (2023)


Architecture and Planning