2014 Winner - Terminal Hangar Facility at Spaceport America, Truth or Consequences, NM

Foster + Partners, London, UK
SMPC Architects, Architect of Record, Albuquerque, NM

This building is a combined terminal and hangar facility that serves as the base for Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight operations. The round building form and apron reflect their brand, an “iris”, viewed from space. To preserve the El Camino Real view shed, the undulating roof and berms, which mimic the rolling hills and colors of this high desert plain, reduce its apparent scale and shroud it with a veil of mystery. Incorporating sustainable passive design principles, the round partially buried form encapsulates the largest area within the most efficient building envelope. Its orientation, in combination with the berms, MSE wing walls and roof overhangs, shelter it from prevailing winds while the concrete slabs and stair towers further temper the high-desert climatic extremes. Sustainable features include high-performance glazing and skylights, an earth tube labyrinth to pre-condition ventilation air year round, displacement ventilation technology, supplemental hydronicheating, de-stratification fans, sophisticated lighting controls and an energy management system.

2014 Jury

Sophia Brasfield, UNM
Diego Antonio Carbajal, UNM
Michael Fifield, University of Oregon
Tania Salgado, Handprint Architecture
Alf Simon, UNM