Architecture Monday

The Spruce Goose.  The largest flying boat ever designed, built, and flown.  Well, flown for all of about a mile at an altitude of 70ish feet before being retired, probably more famous for its Howard Hughes origin than its impact in aviation.  But the thing had to be built somewhere, and its large hanger was equally impressive in its size.  With the plane gone, though, what to make of all that space?  For a time it was used as an epic soundstage (both Titanic and Avatar were filmed there) but it has recently been converted into offices.

From the outside, it looks pretty much like a hangar, albeit with some added and angular windows to break apart the corners.  Architecture is about the inside though (space is where it happens!), and that’s where things get interesting here.  A wonderful example of adaptive reuse, the project inserts a whole separate ‘building’ within the functioning and restored hangar structure. And while these new bits inside are decent enough, it’s their interplay with the beauty and grandeur of the exquisite nature of the bent-wood structure that really makes the project cool.  Balconies, sinuous walkways, intricate boardwalks, overlooks, and plenty of glass all create a 3D kaleidoscope that offers views throughout the various levels and functions while also highlighting the hangar itself.

And I just love this piece of hanging art, re-creating the outline of the Spruce Goose!

Of course, there’s some absurdness at play here for such a large set of offices that is now for sure not going to be occupied until at least mid-next year.  But if office time ever becomes a thing again, this would be a mighty fine place to work.

The “Google Spruce Goose” by ZGF.

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