Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire was a Battle of Britain fighter station and is now maintained by the Imperial War Museum.
The brief for the Air Museum sought 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.
The dimensions of the B-52 (a 61m wingspan and 16m-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 arc of this roof - engineered to support suspended aircraft - and the sweep of the glazed southern wall overlooking the runway. In addition to this fully glazed elevation, a continuous strip of glass around the base of the vault washes the interior in daylight. The result is a light and open space, despite the fact that the structure is partly sunk into the ground.