American Air MuseumEdit profile
Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire was a Battle of Britain fighter station. Later, as one of a hundred US Airforce bases in Britain, it was the headquarters of the 78th Fighter Group. Now maintained by the Imperial War Museum, it has the finest collection of American aircraft outside the United States. Nineteen of its thirty-eight aircraft are airworthy and it attracts over 350,000 people each year to its summer air displays. The centrepiece of the collection is also the largest - a B-52 bomber.
The brief for the Air Museum looked to create a building that would commemorate the role of the American Air Force in World War II and the thousands of airmen who lost their lives. It was also to provide the optimum enclosure, in terms of humidity levels and UV protection, for the conservation of the B-52 and twenty other aircraft dating from World War I to the Gulf War. Equally important, there was also a desire for the Museum to highlight the take-offs and landings during air shows and create a window onto the runway.
The dimensions of the B-52 (a 61-metre wingspan and 16-metre-high tail fin) established the buildings height and width, and provided the principle axis through which the Museum is entered. Enveloped by a single vaulted enclosure, the buildings drama comes from the powerful arc of this roof - engineered to support suspended aircraft - and the sweep of the glazed southern wall overlo...