Aviation and Architecture

Vitruvius, Roman architect and author of De Architectura, is noted  for suggesting that structures must possess three traits – firmitas, utilitas, venustas – that is, usability, durability, and beauty. Although this treatise on architecture was written around 15 BC, these components are still prevalent in structures used today, and highly regarded in the design of our projects here at Rubb Building Systems. And so in honor of National Aviation Day, proclaimed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 on the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday, we have decided to reflect on some of Rubb’s most awe-inspiring aviation architecture. From past projects like the JFK baggage claim, to current air cargo facilities like LAX, and even a sneak peak at our progress on the HNL hangar, we will discuss the importance of aesthetics, longevity, and functionality of all structures here at Rubb.

1994 JFK Baggage ClaimIn 1994 Rubb was contracted to produce a baggage claim roof for the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, NY. this custom facility was designed with special attention to appearance and charisma, and at a span 70ft and a length of 96ft, the building was intended to imitate the shape of the International Arrivals Building (which was eventually remodeled and renamed as Terminal 4 in 2001). Embellished with an arched roof and five symmetrical pillars, the continuity and presentation of the facility preserved the integrity and classic elements at JKF. And although the facility was temporary, the quality of aesthetics was maintained, and JFK is known to this day for being one of the most beautiful airports in the United States. In an article written by The Huffington Post, titled Proof that the Airport is a Really Beautiful Place, photographer Jeffrey Milstein says, “JFK is one of my favorites. It is so big, with so many crazy roads and monorails and taxiways and different terminals that have grown organically over years.”

The Los AngelLAX Air Cargo rubb hangares International Airport is another that, is not only eye-appealing, but has withstood the test of time. Iconic structures at the airport such as Hangar No. 1, which was built in 1929 and is now in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Theme Building, which was built in 1961 and has since been dedicated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, have remained in pristine conditions since their erection. In 1996, Rubb constructed an air cargo facility for LAX, with a span of 110ft and a length of 616ft, that has remained a permanent and welcome addition to the airport. Cargo Services Manager at United Airlines in LA, Jack Paluska, gave a testimonial on the building saying, “…An exterior that elicits kudos from all who pass by, and an interior of intricate customer and employee friendly design. The service efficiency and the employee comforts are unequaled in a cargo warehouse.” Efficiency and longevity are two of our most embraced values here at Rubb, and now with our 20/20 warranty offer, we are willing to prove our customers expectations free of fine print and misinterpretation.

hawaiian airline hangarHere at Rubb, we also take pride in the bigger picture in relation to our buildings. And our current addition to Honolulu International Airport fits “the bigger picture” quite literally in fact, as it is will be our largest clear span building to date. With a maintenance hangar at a length of 347’ and an air cargo facility at a length of 190’, and both at a clear span width of 275’, the functionality of both facilities will be unparalleled. Between ample storage space, a natural light interior, little to no maintenance costs, and the ability to add on to the hangar in the future, this structure will not only be our largest, but one of our most inspiring yet.

Although some of Vitruvius’ ideas on architecture can be seen as primitive, considering the time period and the materials he had to work with, his ideals of usability, durability, and beauty in architecture are timeless concepts that will continue to be carried out in the design of structures, and especially in Rubb aviation buildings, for years to come.


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