New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building
Spaceport America is the first private spaceport in the world. Located in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the new terminal to the stars was designed by Foster + Parners with architectural and engineering services by URS team. The Terminal Hangar Facility is itself a hangar for aircraft, and it provides a space for both the visitors and space tourists, as well as the spaceships themselves.
Zahner was selected as the supplier and installer of the outer Solanum Steel panels which guide visitors into the building. The material is suited both in color and in performance for the New Mexico landscape surrounding the structure. The organic shape of the building rises out of the golden desert as a functional spaceport for the center of international space tourism.
Building Spaceport America
Zahner produced the Solanum steel gates which unveil the planes within as well as the tapered entrance as visitors first approach the Spaceport. The exterior's pre-weathered steel facade panels were installed by Zahner field operators on various aspects of the building envelope.
In addition to fabricating and installing the custom exterior panel system, Zahner was brought on as a consulting partner to explore different artistic possibilities for both the interior and exterior metalwork. The team explored a variety of surface options with the design team.
Solanum Steel is a pre-oxidized weathering steel (Corten) surface developed by Zahner. The surface is produced by accelerating the natural weathering process and stabilizing the result. Solanum Steel provides artists, architects and designers with a range of resonant tones on an enduring surface.One of the well recognized challenges of using steel in architecture is its propensity for the material to rust or oxidize. Although there are many who appreciate the visual nature of the warm hues of weathering steel, nobody likes it when the material's color bleeds onto other surfaces. The Zahner preweathered steel process reduces the material's tendency to stain adjacent surfaces.
The project is commissioned by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) and Virgin Galactic, the company forging the future of space travel for individual citizens. Designed to have minimal carbon impact and meeting many energy requirements, the project is designed to achieve LEED Platinum accreditation.
The low-lying shape of the spaceport benefits from thermal mass, buffering the building from extreme heat and colds common in the New Mexico landscape, as well as catching the westerly winds for ventilation. Natural light enters via skylights, and the glazed east wall provides a platform for viewing the runway.