Foster sheds skin

Kolakowski, Marcin Mateusz (2000) Foster sheds skin. Architektura & Biznes, 95 (6). pp. 26-31. ISSN 1230-3636

Foster sheds skin [A&B2000/6]
2000-06-foster wychodzi ze skory.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


Sir Norman Foster’s American Aviation Museum in Duxford has been honoured with Britain’s most presti¬gious James Stirling Prize. Located near Cambridge, Duxford has been an air base ever since WW1. During WW2, it was used by the 7th and 8th Division of the US Airforce. Today, this best-known part of the town includes two hangars that form the museum of aviation.
The new building blends into the landscape, which is something of a novelty in Foster’s aesthetics. The glazed arc of the southern facade is 18.5m tall and has a (European record) span of 61m. At its longest, the shell is 90m long. The thrust forces in the arc have ne¬cessitated covering some of the structure with soil.
The size of the hall was determined by the size of the main exhibit—a B-52. The structural solution came from Ove Arup. The geometry of the shell they came up with is relatively simple. The architects set a re¬quirement stating that the roof should make it possible to “hook up” aeroplanes.
The construction of the facade turned into a problem of its own. Due to the structure of the roofing, the verti¬cal elements are set at wider intervals in the central part, and closer together towards the ends. Therefore, practi¬cally each element had to be measured separately. The glass wall was mounted in quite a clever way. Small cranes were brought in prefabricated panes and assembled at the same time as the shuttering was being disas¬sembled. This solution is yet another contribution to the lightness of the museum building.
Apart from the main exhibition hall, of course, the museum has a number of auxiliary rooms. These have been reduced to a minimum, owing to the design con¬cept of the whole Duxford museum complex, wherein the main entrance, ticket offices and shops are gath¬ered in another hangar. Foster designed a small exhibi¬tion room, toilets, staff rooms, and service rooms un¬der the inner ramp, which means that they are ‘cov¬ered’ by the embankment. This solution was chosen because these are the only heated rooms in the project.
For Foster, the war museum project in Duxford was just the beginning of experiments on the rounded form that blends in with the landscape. Similar solutions can be admired in Gateshead. It is also noticeable that Foster is becoming increasingly poetic. He is undergo¬ing a metamorphosis, shedding his old hi-tech skin, so visible in numerous multi-purpose boxes he has set all over the world. What is surprising is the fact that more and more metaphors and connotations can be read into his projects, a feature that has so far been re¬served for the postmodernists.

The origins of the INTEGER Millennium House date to May 1996 and a seminar about green building, which catalysed the formation of the INTEGER building design and consultancy team to "evaluate available design and technical solutions to improve housing performance". The INTEGER hosted thousands of visitors, and influenced mainstream construction.

Keywords:Architecture, Domestic architecture
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K200 Building
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K210 Building Technology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:18032
Deposited On:28 Jul 2015 10:46

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