The new Aviation Display Hall for the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in New Zealand was created to house a collection of historic aircrafts, some of which are the world's only remaining models. Completed in 2011, and designed by Studio Pacific Architecture in collaboration with exhibition designers Freeman Ryan, the display hall was built from prefabricated laminated veneered lumber beams and features an impressive clear span. The Aviation Display Hall was also designed to minimize its impact on the environment, and features solar passive design and natural ventilation to reduce energy use.
The Aviation Display Hall was built to extend MOTAT’s existing facilities and house all of their aviation exhibits. The new building is over 3,000 sq m and is actually built on top of a former landfill, making use of a site that would otherwise be left empty. From the beginning, the display hall was designed to minimize its impact on the environment and a life cycle analysis, including empirical research into relative carbon balance and embodied energy of various structural options, was commissioned prior to material selection.
Like a large aircraft hanger, the hall is built with laminated veneer lumber beams prefabricated and then installed on site. These sustainably-sourced engineered timber beams make it possible to create an open hall without supports, and the ceiling actually resembles the wing span of an aircraft. The north facade features actuator-controlled windows and louvers throughout the building to provide natural ventilation — meaning that no mechanical air conditioning is required. Natural daylighting fills the hall to reduce artificial light where possible for the exhibitions and a rainwater harvesting system is employed to service the toilet facilities.
Since its completion in 2011, Studio Pacific Architecture and MOTAT have been awarded with a number of awards including the Public Architecture Award, NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards 2011; the Sustainability Award, NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards 2011; and the Sustainability Award, NZ Timber Design Awards.
Images ©Patrick Reynolds and Jeff Brass