Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

American Air Museum in UK prepares to reopen after people-focused revamp of Norman Foster building

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) in Duxford, UK, is about to relaunch its American Air Museum following a five-year redevelopment project, switching the focus of exhibits from the aircraft on display to a collection of extraordinary people linked with those machines.

Reopening to the public on 19 March, IWM’s newly-transformed American Air Museum has undergone a £3m (US$4.2m, €3.8m) redevelopment, with financial support provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and exhibition redesign by UK-based Redman.

As part of the project, the front section of the museum's Norman Foster-designed 70,000sq ft (21,300sq m) home – which won the 1998 Stirling Prize RIBA Building of the Year Award – was removed so planes could be shuffled around, before being restored.

“The project has taken five years to develop, with the museum being closed for one year of that time,” project leader Jennie Cousins told CLAD.

“We’ve taken advantage of the redevelopment to do some important conservation work on the aircrafts themselves, but more importantly we’ve re-presented the museum to tell the stories of people connected with the aircraft. We really wanted to change our approach, change the way we looked at the aircraft. Obviously they’re dominating and impressive machines but they’re operated by people and that’s what we wanted to look at."

“Almost everything has moved other than the on-display B-52 Bomber, which Norman Foster used to design the building based around its dimensions," Cousins added.

“This is the only piece of proper landmark architecture for purpose across the IWM site. Foster created this vast glass wall so you could see the runway and see the active planes behind. The story we’re trying to tell in here – particularly of the American air force during World War Two – is very connected with the airfield outside. As you’re looking at history you can look across the airport at actual aircraft flying beyond the suspended aircraft on display."

The refocused museum looks at the key role played by American air power in conflicts from 1918, with the dramatic displays of historic and contemporary aircraft. Among the 85 people who have their story told through the exhibition, IWM has sought out people from the past two decades, telling the story of modern conflict as well as historical.

“85 remarkable individuals talked about their lives and their relationships to these aircrafts,” said Cousins. “Those people shared their story, we collected their objects and put them on display. We’ve tried to present those stories in a way that our visitors will be able to get a sense of what it’s like to be able to sit opposite these amazing people.”

Imperial War Museum  Duxford  World War II  Gulf war  Aircraft  Museum  Heritage Lottery Fund  HLF  IWM 
Related stories
21 Sep 2015

Charitable donation kickstarts £15m redevelopment of Imperial War Museum's Holocaust exhibition

10 Dec 2014

UK's Imperial War Museum to benefit from banker fines

18 Jul 2014

Prime Minister and Duke of Cambridge on hand for reopening of London's Imperial War Museum

15 Feb 2013

Imperial War Museum Duxford to invest £15m in facilities

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) in Duxford, UK, is about to relaunch its American Air Museum following a five-year redevelopment project, switching the focus of exhibits from the aircraft on display to a collection of extraordinary people linked with those machines. Reopening to the public on 19 March, IWM’s newly-transformed American Air Museum has undergone a £3m (US$4.2m, €3.8m) redevelopment, with financial support provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
18 aircraft occupy the building / Imperial War Museum Duxford
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7618     
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7618     
company profile
Company profile: Blu Spas, Inc.
Blu is a full-service firm offering consulting, advisory and operating solutions.
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Mary Celeste Beall has kept her husband’s vision alive
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

CopenHill urban ski centre
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Grigoriou’s interiors work focuses on boosting wellbeing and reducing stress
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

McGregor Coxall’s Adrian McGregor is leading a project to create a ‘bird airport’ in Tianjin, China
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

Alexander Schwarz
"Our aim was to create a place celebrating public space and accessibility"

The opening of the James-Simon- Galerie on Berlin’s Museum Island completes two decades of work for David Chipperfield Architects. The lead designer talks us through the building

Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

The platforms offer ‘different senses of excitement and enclosure’
Alan Metcalfe
"When people are a bit scared, they gather together"

Featuring a vibrating glass platform and one of the US’s longest tree canopy walks, Whiting Forest has been designed to bring visitors closer to nature and to one another

cladkit product news
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
cladkit product news
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB