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Ground Control: Aviation Architecture Beyond the Airport

Ground Control: Aviation Architecture Beyond the Airport

Aviation architecture has radically transformed. While airports themselves have grown to accommodate countless programs and increasingly higher traffic volumes each year, modern building projects are going beyond this familiar typology to explore the nature of hangars, airfield taxonomy and reuse. While airports have really only emerged within the last century, aviation has captured the imagination of designers for centuries. Today, contemporary aviation designs are being conceptualized as explorative and creative works.

© Qingshan Wu© Patrick Reynolds© Mathieu Choiselat© Jens Willebrand+ 11

© Patrick Reynolds
© Patrick Reynolds

Designed at the intersection of people, architecture and the sky, the following projects showcase new aviation projects. Examining the relationships between new technologies and historic advancements, each project was made with different scales, programs and material assemblies. Together, they begin to show how contemporary aviation architecture is going beyond the airport to foster contemplation and connection.

Museum of Aviation and Aviation Exhibition Park / Pysall. Ruge Architekten + Bartlomiej Kisielewski

© Jens Willebrand
© Jens Willebrand

The Muzeum Lotnictwa is one of the largest museums of aviation in the world. It is located in historically pre-served buildings and hangars of the former historic airfield of Rakowice-Cyzyny in Cracow, the first airfield on polish terrain, build in 1912 for the air fleet no. 7 of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. In 2005 a competition was launched for the new main building - the first pan-European competition for architects, after the accession of Poland to the EU.

Tank Shanghai / OPEN Architecture

© Qingshan Wu
© Qingshan Wu

Along the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River, five decommissioned aviation fuel tanks once stood abandoned on an empty industrial site. Today, these tanks and the surrounding site—forgotten relics of the city's former Longhua Airport—have been given new life and relevancy by OPEN Architecture. Over the course of many years, the five tanks were converted from waste containers to a vibrant contemporary art center.

Aviation Pavilion at The Museum of Flight / SRG Partnership

© Francis Zera
© Francis Zera

The Museum of Flight’s Aviation Pavilion is a 135,000 square foot roof supported by steel columns and brace frames with a twelve-inch concrete paving slab. It houses twenty aircraft for augmented protection from the elements and patron access. Exhibited planes include the iconic Boeing 747 and 787 prototypes, Air Force One, Concorde, and other historic military and commercial aircraft.

MOTAT Aviation Display Hall / Studio Pacific Architecture

© Patrick Reynolds
© Patrick Reynolds

The Aviation Display Hall is a major new museum facility for the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)’s collection of historic aircraft. It was designed to extend the existing aviation building on the museum’s Meola Road site in Auckland. At 3300m2, the extension will enable MOTAT to house all of their aviation exhibits, some of which are the only remaining examples in the world, in a protected environment for the first time.

Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority HQ / Space Group Architects

© Jeroen Musch
© Jeroen Musch

Building a new headquarter for Luftfartstilsynet was a challenge in creating a place for an uprooted organization, transplanted from Oslo to Bodø, and in doing so, building a new office culture. The site, a compact waterfront property, is hidden from its street address by the recently completed NAV building. Exploiting the one story difference between key level and street level, the team perforated the NAV building with a tunnel that becomes a programmed (reception) bridge, connecting to the freestanding Luftfartstilsynet.

Halle du Conservatoire des Mécaniques / Patrick Arotcharen architecte

© Mathieu Choiselat
© Mathieu Choiselat

A landmark of the aeronautical adventure, the Montaudran site has left a strong mark on the landscape and in collective memories. The new exhibition hall, conceived to house gigantic mechanic creations, is therefore a study of the transmission and cultural identity. In front of the old runway, the Hall develops in streamlined volumes, the height of the spans and the receding lines of the roof creating a sensation of flying and reminding people of the historical dialogue between architecture and aviation. 

House of Air / Mark Horton - Architecture

© Ethan Kaplan Photography and Mark Horton
© Ethan Kaplan Photography and Mark Horton

House of Air, started in 2010 by two young entrepreneurs interested in the action sports world, is a trampoline facility that caters to the young, energetic and affluent population of active San Francisco. The site is at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge and in the Golden Gate National Park, with expansive views out to the San Francisco Bay that become even more apparent when the 45' wide glazed hanger door is opened.

Secret Operation 610 / Studio Frank Havermans + RAAAF

© Michiel de Cleene
© Michiel de Cleene

Secret Operation 610 is a radical mobile solution for the regeneration challenge of transforming the aircraft bunker Shelter 610 on the former American NATO Air Base Soesterberg from a F15 fighter jet hangar into a challenging experimental workspace for smaller teams. The robust black object referring to the mystical military Cold War imagery contains a ‘basic’ functional work interior for a maximum of 10 persons.

About this author
Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Ground Control: Aviation Architecture Beyond the Airport" 20 May 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/961192/ground-control-aviation-architecture-beyond-the-airport> ISSN 0719-8884

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