Single-Span Timber Arch Aircraft Hangar in New Zealand Sets Record in Southern Hemisphere

Studio Pacific Architecture’s new flagship hangar being built for Air New Zealand in Auckland will be the largest single-span timber arch aircraft hangar in the southern hemisphere, according to a profile by ArchitectureNow (11-21-23). The project is slated to be completed in 2025.

At one and half times the size of the airline’s largest existing hanger, it will be able to house one wide-bodied aircraft (e.g., a Boeing 777-300 or 787-9) as well as two narrow bodied aircraft (e.g., A320 or A321neo) at the same time.

The laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and cross-laminated timber (CLT) hybrid timber arch, designed in association with structural engineer Alistair Cattanach of Dunning Thornton, spans 98 meters and has a low total structure mass, making it considerably easier and more efficient to put together on site than a similarly sized steel structure would be.

According to ArchitectureNow, lead architect Patrick Thompson says the arch geometry also resulted in an increased net-useable floor area in the hangar, which will provide for internal storage of equipment and aircraft planning offices.

Kulwinder Panesar, Senior Project Manager at Air New Zealand, told ArchitectureNow that the hangar represents a significant advancement in building innovation when compared with previous use of timber, such as the glulam in Auckland’s Hangar 1.

“With the use of modern engineered timber available today, the hangar has the ability to become a world leading example of innovation and creativity,” Panesar added. “As timber is a net carbon sink, building a timber hangar structure instead of a steel structure results in savings of close to 600 tons of CO2 equivalent, which equates to approximately 2,300 hours of flight time.”

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