An aircraft hangar usually has the design aesthetics of a shoe box - square, practical, useful. As the home of the Flying Bulls collection this would have been an affront to the perfectly shaped aviation classics. Planning started in 1999 and in the interim Hangar-7 evolved into a structure, the like of whose construction and purpose has never been seen before.
Much of the fascination of Hangar-7 lies in its architecture. If you are standing inside the vaults of Heaven seem to open up above the historic aircraft and exhibits. If you look at the construction from outside, the similarity to a wing which radiates uncommon dynamism and weightlessness is striking, despite the 1,200 tonnes of steel and 380 tonnes of special glass used in the construction.
The 40 metre-long entrance and two cylindrical towers, providing space for offices, lounges and a restaurant, were cut into the elliptical glass shell. It presented Salzburg architect Volkmar Burgstaller with enormous static challenges as far as the supporting structure was concerned, because the steel supports were ultimately supposed to be as slim as possible. A complex static engineering concept, which met all the specifications and requirements, was finally developed using specially written 3-D simulation software.
The team of architects furthermore succeeded in making all the cabling, heating and ventilation invisible. Visitors can also admire the mobile interior at various angles from three self-supporting ribs which span the hall – not an easy feat in a steel and glass construction, but important for experiencing the space in Hangar-7. The 1,754 panes of glass, which are all different sizes, provide a view of the impressive mountain panorama, and their transparency creates a different atmosphere in Hangar-7 depending on the weather or the time of day.
Hangar-7 has become what it is today because of these structural requirements: a place where technology, art and entertainment come face to face and naturally complement each other, and of course a garage that any airplane would love to call home.