The Museum of Flight’s Aviation Pavilion is a 135,000 square foot roof supported by steel columns and brace frames with a twelve-inch concrete paving slab. It houses twenty aircraft for augmented protection from the elements and patron access. Exhibited planes include the iconic Boeing 747 and 787 prototypes, Air Force One, Concorde, and other historic military and commercial aircraft. The building is a parallelogram approximately 460 feet wide, 315 feet deep and between 55 and 87 feet tall. It connects the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery and the Raisbeck Aviation High School on the Museum’s west campus. Six rows of skylights distribute even natural light and prevent glare and silhouetting in the open-air facility. Design supports the future enclosure of the structure with leaning glazing at East Marginal Way South and visual access from the High School.
The Aviation Pavilion at the Museum of Flight is a truly unique exploratory and educational experience. Designing a place for 20 exhibits up to 230 feet long and 64 feet tall was an exercise in gigantic. The roof covers more than three acres. Five million cubic feet of space is protected from the elements. 1,375 tons of steel (enough to make 1,100 cars) supports it all. But the space is really designed for one human being, the patron. The building allows even the smallest enthusiast to experience the history and wonder of the Museum’s collection of large passenger and military aircraft.