Bristol Aero Collection

Bristol, UK

The Aerospace Bristol project is a new, state of the art museum dedicated to preserving Bristol’s rich aviation heritage. Visitors to the Lottery Funded museum will be able to view a diverse range of previously inaccessible artefacts and information, with the aim of educating and inspiring engineers of the future. An active outreach team will also be based at the ‘Concorde museum’, and additional facilities include a dedicated educational activity area, archive, lecture theatre and conference rooms.


Located at Filton Airfield, the project involved the refurbishment of two Grade II listed hangars, which date back to the First World War, and the creation of a purpose-built hangar to house the iconic Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last Concorde to fly.

A key challenge for the Buro Happold team was the need to maintain the cultural heritage of the WWI hangars through careful refurbishment, while ensuring that they are fit for their new purpose as museum space.

Conceived to celebrate Bristol’s world-class aerospace industry, Aerospace Bristol is a new industrial heritage museum featuring the stunning Concorde 216 as its centerpiece. Image: Airbus / Aerospace Bristol


Working within a tight budget, our team sympathetically upgraded the building fabric of the hangars to reduce condensation, improve air tightness and thermal performance, and ensured that the roof structure was sound.

Our ground engineers designed and specified the supplementary ground investigation for both geotechnical and geoenvironmental purposes, this data allowed the optimisation of the foundation and floor slab reuse within the refurbished structures.

The enhancements to the building fabric enabled the environmental conditions in the existing hangars to be controlled. Our selection of heat recovery ventilation systems and high level radiant panels will provide the desired level of comfort for visitors, appropriate conditions for the artefacts and displays, while also being simple and economical to operate.

The new hangar for Concorde presented another key challenge, as the aircraft’s size meant that it was necessary to partially construct the hangar and complete all items overhead, move the aircraft inside and then complete the building. Using temporary frames and cantilevers, we ensured that the hangar was constructed without damaging this valuable piece of aviation history.

The new hangar structure was modelled in REVIT allowing for 3D BIM coordination with the architect’s models. The contractor found this model a priceless tool in developing the construction sequence and the REVIT model also provided valuable visualisations allowing the building to be viewed before it was even constructed.

A key challenge for our team was the need to maintain the cultural heritage of the WWI hangars containing the Concorde museum through careful refurbishment. Image: Airbus / Aerospace Bristol


The Bristol Aero Collection’s new home opened in October 2017, enabling the city’s outstanding aviation history to be unlocked to the public, while also providing the right conditions to ensure that it will be conserved for years to come.



Project of the Year: RICS Awards, South West

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