Airplane Recycling Hangar

Aircraft recycling hangar design, inspired by the sky.

Site area: 85,500 m2

Project Year: 2014 – 2015

Location: Luqa, Malta

#aviation #industrial #offices #hangardesign #plantdesign

project floor plan
project floor plan

Our team was hired to look into the preparation of detailed design and structural engineering plans for a new Airplane Recycling Plant to be located at Malta International Airport.

Aircraft plant design is a challenge to begin with. Not only do you have to consider the hefty regulations of the location and specific safety measures (given the proximity to a frequently used runway) but you also have to look at how your design works in conjunction with the main airport’s site plan. Structural integrity is vital in every project, but there is more of it to consider when you’re working with massive amounts of materials in the construction. You also have to find ways for the design to fulfil various functions such as easy access for planes, covered protection for the aircraft, the actual recycling area and the connected offices.

One of the largest design features for a structure of this size is the roof. Covering a span of over 85,000 m2 the roof of the building would be seen from the sky and from various vantage points on the ground. We knew we didn’t want this to be rigid and box like, so we looked to the sky for inspiration. Using the idea of wings and wind, we created this flowing feature that made its way fluidly across the roof space, playing with different heights to soften the way this industrial building would connect with the viewer and its surroundings.

This elegant design was also deeply connected with the concept of the buildings purpose. Recycling takes pre-used materials and through specialist processes, repurposes them for another use such as on a new aircraft. This endless cycle of minimal wastage inspired us to think about the building as being in continual motion. When one journey ends another begins.

For the office block, we felt we could go bolder with our proposal. Still nestled within the gentle curves of the roof so there would be no impact when seen from above, we wanted the design to be stronger and impressive. Rectangular windows dotted the façade and in the topmost instance continued over the corner of the building. We then pushed the second floor out away from the main building, giving the facade an authoritative edge.

We find our design philosophy is often inspired by the subject matter, industry or the people we are designing for. In an industry that works in the sky, looking up was the only way to design what needed to be constructed below.

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