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Flying in the face of the cold war

Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects has drawn inspiration from the Berlin Wall for its new £11.2 million Cold War Aviation Museum in Shropshire.

The project, which won planning permission from Bridgenorth District Council last week, will be the first museum in the world dedicated to the display of some of history's most devastating aircraft.

Project architect Julian Gitsham told the AJ that the design was inspired by the concept of two conflicting ideologies. This is manifested in two 'opposing triangular structures' that will appear to be in conflict with one another.

Sat on a flat plain, the design aims to give the impression of the two cultures colliding - 'like plate-tectonics'- being forced out of the ground by the power of the collision. Internally the building will also use Cold War symbolism by creating a wall running from one end to the other, forming a highly visual axis.Though punctured by a 70m-wide opening, it will be the museum's main orientation feature, and a reminder of the world's divisions pre-Glasnost.

The other dominant feature of the design brief was the scale and massing of the project. Once open, the museum will have the capacity to house the RAF's unique collection of up to 13 cold war bombers with wing-spans of up to 50m. And access for the aircraft will be achieved, not through the traditional use of hanger doors, but through one end of the building, which has been designed to be easily dismantled within a matter of days.

The project is expected to start on site - funds permitting - at the beginning of next year and be completed by mid-2005.

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