Spaceport America

Spaceport America

Architect
Foster + Partners
Location
New Mexico, United States
Project Year
2007
Category
Airports
Stories By
Foster + Partners

Alki

Spaceport America

Foster + Partners as Architects

Located in the desert-like landscape of New Mexico, Spaceport will be the first building of its kind in the world. Its design aims to articulate the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists while making a minimal impact on the environment. Viewed from space, the terminal evokes Virgin Galactic’s brand logo of the eye, and is suggestive of an elongated pupil, with the apron completing the iris.


Approached from the historic El Camino Real trail, the terminal’s organic form appears as a subtle rise in the landscape. Organised into a highly efficient and rational plan, Spaceport has been designed to relate to the dimensions of the spacecraft. There is also a careful balance between accessibility and privacy. The astronauts’ areas and visitor spaces are fully integrated with the rest of the building, while the more sensitive zones – such as the control room – are visible, but have limited access. Visitors and astronauts enter the building via a deep channel cut into the landscape. The retaining walls form an exhibition space that documents a history of space exploration alongside the story of the region and its settlers.


The strong linear axis of the channel continues into the building on a galleried level to the super hangar – which houses the spacecraft and the simulation room – through to the terminal building. A glazed facade on to the runway establishes a platform within the terminal building for coveted views out to arriving and departing spacecraft. With minimal embodied carbon and few additional energy requirements, the scheme has been designed to achieve the prestigious LEED Gold accreditation.


The low-lying form is dug into the landscape to exploit the thermal mass, which buffers the building from the extremes of the New Mexico climate as well as catching the westerly winds for ventilation; and maximum use is made of daylight via skylights. Intended to be built using local materials and regional construction techniques, it aims to be both sustainable and sensitive to its surroundings.

Spaceport America - USA

Alki as Furniture

Virgin Galactic has unveiled its first aerospace base, called “Spaceport America”, designed to carry out tourist space flights in 2020.

Signed by the architectural studio Foster + Partners, this 62,000m2 (670,000 sq ft) edifice is constructed in a desert of New Mexico, in the Southwestern region of the United States. It is shaped as a large earth-colored cape overlooking a glass facade.

On the ground floor, an area dedicated to future passengers serves as both a lounge and a restaurant. Named Gaia and imagined by London's design Viewport Studio, the space features natural materials and colours that echo the surrounding landscape. Our Kuskoa stools and Koila chairs furnish this area.

Project Credits
Furniture
Interior Architects
Products used in this project
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct name
FurnitureAlki
Product Spec Sheet
Furniture
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