Aerospace Museum

New Delhi

Site and surroundings:
The plot is located on the main road to the domestic Airport terminal and further to Dwarka. The new road to Dwarka divides the site into two with the larger portion towards the north-east. The predominantly gentle slope of this part culminates in a sharply rising rocky area at the extreme north-east corner.  
We propose to locate bus and car parking and all other visitors facilities like ticket counter, ATM, drivers restaurant, cloak rooms, on the smaller plot on the south-west side of the new Dwarka road.

Architectural design concept:
By locating all the ancillary functions on the smaller plot on the south-west side, the larger site towards the south of the Dwarka road is free for a complete experiential museum of flight.

The visitor almost takes off from one side of the road using the escalator and the travelator in the arched tube across the road, smoothly converts their motion into a flight path leading to the museum.  

The main museum building is conceived of as a 3-dimensional confluence of people and aircrafts.  Visitors arrive from one side using the travelators and aircrafts from the other along the air strip which takes full advantage of the natural slope of the land in that direction.

With an inversion of the normal experience, the visitors almost fly around the stationary aircrafts with almost no reference to a stable ground level. This inversion is extended to create an ambiguity between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ with the interior of the tube containing the travelators opening out into monumental ellipsoid cavities on the east and west facades with real aircrafts exploding out of them. Moreover at the lower level the landscape of the airstrip extends inside the building enabling the creation of diverse natural settings for the ‘internal’ exhibits.

The image of the project is thus evocative of a giant bird cage containing frozen yet fluid 3- dimensional motion trajectories of the aircrafts and people interacting with each other.


Structural concept:
In order to make this entire museum space open to the micro air base we propose to use a large space frame covering a hall of 100 by 200 m by 30 meters high but sunken by 10 meters in order to respect the maximum height of 20m above ground. This monumental roof structure is supported by 4 large metal drums along with smaller drums which house the circulation cores and toilets which provide additional support to the structure.

The drums are formed by circular clusters of metal columns in a highly efficient twisted form which maximizes structural strength and stability.