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  HiWorks proposal for Houston's Saturn V building

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Author Topic:   HiWorks proposal for Houston's Saturn V building
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30586
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-06-2014 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Architect proposes 'more fitting container' for Houston's Saturn V rocket

An architect with a self-professed interest in spaceflight has drafted a design to relaunch the display of a Saturn V moon rocket in Texas.

Brantley Hightower of San Antonio's HiWorks Architecture devised his concept for a new glass-fronted building after visiting the Apollo-era booster's current exhibit at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Since 2005, the 363-foot-long (110 meter) Saturn V has been displayed inside a "temporary" structure that was raised as part of a three-year restoration effort.

"You have no idea that the pinnacle of twentieth-century engineering is sitting inside that metal building," Hightower said in a release accompanying his design. "It's like they entombed [the rocket] and in doing so took away so much of the power it has to inspire."


Posts: 312
From: Minooka IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 10-06-2014 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasnt the reason it remains on its grassy pedestal was it was deemed too fragile to move?

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30586
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-06-2014 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, and I asked Hightower about that. Here was his reply:
The proposed design leaves the Saturn V in its current location and configuration. With that variable set, part of the challenge as we defined it was to reestablish the public visibility of the vehicle from several key points without simply building a big glass box around it that would be both expensive and impractical for Houston.

That said, the hope was that the system of mounds and columns that currently support he S-IVB stage, Lunar Module Adapter, Command and Service Modules and the Launch Escape System could be reconfigured so that a flat floor would exist throughout the facility allowing that portion of the vehicle to be walked under (similar to the experience of the Saturn V on display at the Kennedy Space Center).

Our understanding is that Conservation Solutions did some reengineering of the support between the Command and Service Modules​ so it seems to be within the realm of possibility that additional portions of the support structure could be reworked while preserving the structural integrity of the original artifact.​


Posts: 1447
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 10-07-2014 08:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really like this idea. If it will ever happen is a different story. But hey, I can start buying some Powerball and assist with this if I hit it big.

I would also like to add that I like the idea of being able to see the rocket from different angles. The display of Space Shuttle Atlantis shows how awesome it is to be able to see the vehicle from all angles.


Posts: 43
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 10-07-2014 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for IconDesign29     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I cannot express how much I would like to see this happen! While I was relieved when the Saturn V was enclosed 10 years ago, I was so completely underwhelmed with the building design, especially when you've seen KSC's. I have always held out a bit of hope that the "temporary" building would be replaced with a better one.

I am going to reach out to Mr. Hightower and see if we can get this in front of some of the right people. I know that at the end of the day money talks, but sometimes you have to start with inspiring people with a great vision and this is a wonderful one!

Such a beautiful concept that would be the perfect first impression for visitors at JSC! This NEEDS to happen!


Posts: 69
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 10-07-2014 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JSC01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, stunning images.

I think we would all agree that while it was huge to finally get the Saturn protected, the building is far from what we'd wish for the display. Very exciting to actually see a graphic of what 'could' be at the JSC entrance. I certainly applaud the architect for working up this plan.

I've been wondering for years, if money is very constrained (as it almost certainly will be...), is there a hybrid solution where somehow the existing building could be modified? For example, could significantly more windows be added to the entrance side? This, plus some expansion for additional displays, and some added overhead viewing, might accomplish the goal much cheaper.

But if this concept could be done, it would be awesome.

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