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American Air Museum, Duxford
Client : Imperial War Museum
Value : €10.3m
This spectacular structure was designed by internationally renowned architect, Sir Norman Foster, with structural design by Ove Arup & Partners. The project’s significance was recognised by being awarded the coveted Stirling Prize.
Visitors view the exhibits from a first floor walkway that slopes around the roof’s interior, a functional vantage point that capitalises on the unique design.
The roof design is based on the geometry of a torus and comprised of 274 precast curved panels weighing 12.5 tons each and a further 650 upper units, generating a roof weight in excess of 6000 tons. Loads from the roof are transferred to the abutment substructure by way of an upper and lower ring beam, which is spanned by 14 steel arms, collectively supporting the roof’s total weight.
Installation and removal of aircraft exhibits takes place through the South Easterly elevation which is made from a partly demountable 19mm glass curtain wall.
The innovative design and use of concrete construction facilitated economy and buildability with a structure that demonstrates excellent thermal capacity and acoustic insulation properties.