Client: Royal Air Force Museum
Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios


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Civic Trust Award/Special Award for Sustainability 2008
European Steel Design Award 2007
British Construction Industry Award 2007
RIBA Regional Award 2007


A new museum to conserve & house historic aircraft together with a visitor attraction with themed exhibitions. The brief required the protection of as many aircraft as possible in a building of architectural merit.
A number of constructional forms and materials were examined to determine the most efficient and economic structure. Early studies included looking at cable and truss supported fabrics and inflated foils. The adopted solution responds, among other things, to the site, long spans and the desire to maximise the number of aircraft that are accommodated.
The building is split along its spine by a dramatic wall, a device that addresses the change in level across the site and acts as a symbolic referent to the Cold War which is the principal theme for the museum. The wall is structured by a series of steel frames at regular centres and supports steel trusses that form the structure to the roof.
The approximate display areas will cover 6320m² with a further 763m² for ancillary use.

Steelwork Erection Sequence
Site photos

Principal/Consultant: Nirupa Perera/ Michael Eatherley
Project Engineer: Malcolm Brady
Design Engineer: Louise Quick


Certificate of Commendation,
Structural Steel Design Awards 2007

The Judges' Comment: "This striking building celebrates the end of the cold war, and its diagonally-split rectangular form reflects the schism between the super-powers in the second half of the 20th century. the large space, some 25 metres high, has a hyperbolic paraboloid roof on a braced steel frame. V-bombers are suspended by steel cables from the roof, whilst other aircraft are parked below and film scenes heighten the effectiveness of the display. The mood is hard and uncompromising, with unpainted steel trussed rafters beneath the sweeping roof cladding, providing an effective and economic envelope.
The building presents a stunning spectacle on this windswept airfield, and provides an appropriate setting for an evocative experience."