Milestones of Flight bridges the gap between the existing disparate museum buildings at RAF Hendon, forming a focal point for the whole site. Housing a collection of classic aircraft, the barrel vaulted form is clad externally in stainless steel, evoking the sleek fuselages of modern planes. Internally, semi-translucent fabric panels conjure up images of the stick and dope construction of early aircraft.
Milestones of Flight has a strong emphasis on natural light. A continuous roof light at the apex of the barrel vault allows daylight to fall onto the fabric panels, creating huge scalloped shadows at particular moments during the day. The fabric also acts as an environmental filter, preventing harmful UV light from damaging the exhibits. The two ends of the building are entirely glazed in cast glass channels which glow at night and provide diffused light during the day.
Milestones of Flight, RAF Museum, RAF Hendon
Client: The Royal Air Force Museum
Construction value: £7,300,000
Completion: April 2003
•2006: Civic Trust Awards
“The quality of the design and the innovative approach have produced a building with real excitement, status and drama. Furthermore, the innovation in design has enabled even better value for money to be achieved... This practice produces first class designs which are tailored to the needs, aspirations and restraints of the client. It works with the client in seeking a common goal and this appears to be the company ethic. I cannot rate them more highly."
Simon Greenish, Museum and Development Manager