The perfect landing

James
Tuesday 15 Nov 2011

An economical and recyclable hangar for elegant aircraft and their colourful history

The Hangar is a gallery, public museum and operational facility for a collection of World War Two fighter aircraft. The building performs both as a tourist attraction and functional hangar.

Responding to the theatrical presence and scale of the aircraft, the building is designed as a technically sophisticated yet romantic enclosure with sufficient volume to provide for the movement of aircraft. Hangar is essentially utilitarian, yet offers visitors a memorable ‘aeronautical' experience. 

Much of the drama within the design derives from the powerful arc of its cantilevered wall and roof, casting the building forwards to float across the taxiway. The curved southern facade invokes the form of World War Two ‘blister' hangars - vaulted structures designed to be invisible from the air.

Reminiscent of a wing profile, which gains maximum strength from minimal material, the form of the building is a highly efficient single skinned structure. The integrity of the structure is maintained through the use of 15m spans of Aramax roof sheeting locking the building together between the four main trusses of the primary structure. The curved vault truss is engineered to ‘spring' support the 12-metre cantilever awning. This extends beyond a clear span 30m door, providing unobstructed access and weather protection between the working interior and the taxiway. The structural system initiative has produced a net steel tonnage reduction of 30%.

Administration ‘pods' are affixed on the east and west facades of the building: east for entry, west for outlook These points are connected via a 45m suspended walkway, which acts as a central east-west axis and viewing platform for the building. The Hangar is an economical, environmentally and responsible theatrical space - its architecture as spare as the planes it keeps.

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