Structure Type: built works - infrastructure - transportation structures - airports; built works - military buildings

Designers: Witt, W.H., Company (firm); John Valdemar Christiansen (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1956

Larsen Air Force Base, Moses Lake, WA

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The Larsen Air Force Base B-52 Hangar required extremely long spans to accommodate the 185-foot wingspan of the B-52 bomber. To do this, engineer Jack Christiansen of the W.H. Witt Company in Seattle, WA, utilized the structural advantages of thin shell concrete. Arches formed in thin shell concrete used very little material (lowering cost) while still presenting a weatherproof surface. Rainer Metzger, in his article, "Jack Christiansen Thin Shell Concrete in the Pacific Northwest," noted of the Boeing Field Hangar: "In 1956, Christiansen designed an eight-place B-52 hangar at Larsen Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Washington. The structure measured 376 feet by 1068 feet, incorporating 3-inch barrel vaulted roofs spanning an amazing 220 feet across each airplane bay. Another hangar project at Boeing Field in Seattle (1962) spanned even farther, 240 feet, by employing doubly curving, hyperbolic paraboloids, Here, segmented three-inch thick concrete shells curve in two directions. Sheltering these vast stretched of space with just a few inches of concrete creates a paradoxical sense of minimalism." (See Rainer Metzger, "Jack Christiansen Thin Shell Concrete in the Pacific Northwest," Column 5, vol. XX, p.9.)

PCAD id: 16803