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MOTAT Set To Open New $18.5 Million Aviation Display Hall



MOTAT Set To Open New $18.5 Million Aviation Display Hall

The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is set to open its brand new $18.5 million Aviation Display Hall to the public on Friday 09 September 2011.

The cost of the 3,000m² custom designed Display Hall includes the refurbishment of MOTAT's original Aviation Hangar, the surrounding grounds and the new aviation exhibition display.

The Display Hall is New Zealand's largest clear span wooden structure and will house one of the largest aviation collections in the Southern Hemisphere.

The new hangar is more than double the size of MOTAT's original Aviation Hangar and will house around 40 MOTAT aircraft including the newly loaned RNZAF Skyhawk, Sunderland and Solent flying boats, Lancaster Bomber, DC3, Cessna and Tiger Moth.

The Skyhawk is due to arrive at MOTAT by the end of December 2011, while the Sunderland and Solent Flying boats will be transported inside the Display Hall by mid 2012.

Construction of the new Aviation Display Hall began in January 2010, with the structure designed by Studio Pacific Architecture, the company behind the impressive re-design of the Wellington International Airport Passenger Terminal.

The wooden interior wall panels of the Display Hall are beautifully designed with a zigzag pattern that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also has effective energy saving system that circulates rising warm air throughout the building to keep the structure at a constant temperature. This ensures the aircraft are preserved for many years to come.

The northern façade is a translucent skin which assists in providing natural temperature regulation including heating and cooling. There are 440,000 nails in the structure, all done by hand with 531 cubic metres of concrete poured.

The Aviation Display Hall construction phase follows stage one of the aviation project - the relocation and restoration of MOTAT's original World War II Blister Hangar. The Blister Hangar is the workshop for the volunteers who restore the aircraft in the collection.

MOTAT Museum Director Jeremy Hubbard said that the new structure will provide enhanced housing for the collection and will allow for the exhibitions to be upgraded to tell the stories of the aircraft, the people who flew them and their contribution to the development of New Zealand.

"It's fantastic to see the Aviation Display Hall finished and in all its glory, many staff and volunteers spent countless hours getting this great attraction ready. It's reassuring to know that these historic planes will now be kept in a space that they truly deserve," said Mr Hubbard.

"This is a world class facility that will be a fantastic attraction for both local and international visitors to learn about New Zealand's aviation history, we're working towards getting more and more activities up and running around it, including tours hosted by some of our aviation volunteers."

The new building is large enough to allow aircraft to be moved within the hall as the exhibitions change and provides a unique experience where the space can be hired out for events.

Mr Hubbard said the Display Hall has been created with the next generation in mind.

"We have created something that will last well into the future and will keep generations of Kiwis coming back to MOTAT to learn all about New Zealand's aviation history," he said.


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