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BUILDING
 
 
Spaceport America
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DESIGNER
 
 
Norman Foster

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DESCRIPTION
 
Foster + Partners Spaceport AmericaThe Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space, a combined terminal and hangar facility, will support up to two WhiteKnightTwo and five SpaceShipTwo vehicles. The 120,000 square-foot building has been designed by Foster + Partners, working with URS Corporation and New Mexico architects SMPC.

Foster + Partners Spaceport AmericaThe Gateway will also house all astronaut preparation and celebration facilities, a mission control centre and a friends and family area. Entrance is via a deep channel cut into the landscape and its retaining walls form an exhibition space that documents a history of space exploration alongside the story of the region.
Foster + Partners Spaceport America
Foster + Partners Spaceport AmericaVirgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline. The new spaceship (SpaceshipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Virgin Galactic by Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10m Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers, or the equivalent scientific research payload, on sub-orbital space flights, allowing an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience and offering astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers. The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
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ECO-SUSTAINABILITY'
 
With minimal embodied carbon and few additional energy requirements, the scheme has been designed to achieve 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. Built using local materials and construction techniques, it aims to be both sustainable and sensitive to its surroundings.
Foster + Partners Spaceport America

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LOCATION
 
Continent
North America
Nation
United States
State
New Mexico
County
Sierra
Town
Truth or Consequences
Place
Upham
Address
County Road A013 - Powerline Road (El Camino Real)
 
 
Telephone
+1.575.373.6110
Fax
+1.575.373.6120
Website
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MAP
 
 
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TYPOLOGY
 
ARCHITECTURE
Transport buildings and structures
Airports, terminals, etc.
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CHRONOLOGY
 
Project
2006     project winner of competition
Realisation
2006 - 2011
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BIBILIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES
 
 
"Foster takes on architecture's final frontier", Building Design 1986, 21 october 2011, p. 1
Daniele Bedini, "Agora: dreams and visions. L'era del turismo spaziale / Agora: dreams and visions. From Space Hotel to Capsule Hotel", L'Arca 231, dicembre/december 2007, pp. 48-49
Dianna Dilworth, "Foster, URS unveil designs for space tourism's giant leap", Architectural Record 10/2007, october 2007, p. 48
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CLIENT
 
 
New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA)
Virgin Galactic (tenant)
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AMOUNT
 
 
$ 212,000,000
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DIMENSIONAL
DATA
 
Surface
sq.m. 11,150 (sq.ft. 120,000)
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STAFF
 
Associate designers
URS Corporation
Architect of record
SMPC Architects
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CREDITS
 
 
Photos © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Images © Foster + Partners
Text edited by Foster + Partners
Courtesy by Foster + Partners


Foster + Partners Spaceport America



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