Hangar and Departure Lounge for RAUBAIR - Bloemfontein International Airport
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Award for Architecture Citation
An aircraft hangar, with under-cover parking, a departure lounge and a boardroom makes for an unusual architectural commission.
The aircraft is given pride of place, parking accommodated on the south, and the habitable spaces on the north. The latter were conceived as an L-shaped pavilion with direct visual contact with the aircraft and out into the open landscape.
The project exemplifies the potential of simple, relatively prosaic commissions to yield distinctive architecture.
Award of Merit Citation
The elegantly designed Raubex Hangar & Departure Lounge located at the Bloemfontein International Airport complex, primarily serves as a hangar for a Pilatus 12 aircraft. The design of this facility however presents a hangar as a pedestal or a gallery, which exhibits the aircraft as an object that symbolises the success and achievements of the Raubex Group. Interestingly the scale of the hangar, which in scale significantly dwarfs the departure lounge, at the same time graciously complements the human-scaled departure lounge like a parent to a child.
Approach to the development is from the south and to reach the boardroom and lounge areas on the northern side, one is encouraged to walk past the hangar's enormous doors, which, when left open, heightens the sense of the hangar being a display-cum-exhibition container intended to showcase the aircraft. This is further emphasised by how vehicular parking is intentionally on the south of the hangar and not alongside the boardroom with departure area. As would be expected, the architectural language of the hangar and the area for meetings and lounging is kept constant by the detail and materials applied.
Perhaps most commendable is how the hangar and its abutted boardroom with departure lounge can have their independent activities and operations occur without cross-functional interference. With the boardroom and lounge areas being north oriented, it maximises natural day lighting and provides for an optimum view of the 'public' runway of the airport. The volumetrically large steel tectonic structure is familiarly supported by the smaller structure, with both predominantly expressed in red brick delineated by concrete slabs and fenestration to emphasise horizontality. This further generates a tension that is harmonised visually by the way the two seamlessly meet in elevation.
This play of structure carries through with the simple yet fittingly appropriate detailing, such as the double rainwater downpipes and the differentiation of the entrance by the introduction of timber lattes on a steel frame as canopy to reinforce arrival to the boardroom and the lounge.
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.