Maguire Aviation Hangar Charlie

Butler Manufacturing

Challenged by its client to design an aircraft hangar that would be visually dramatic, and then inspired by the patchwork appearance of the earth when seen from above, Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a) of Culver City, CA, turned what might well have been another ordinary metal building hangar into something that’s clearly anything but.

Hangar Charlie represents the first step in a multi-phase master plan developed by SPF:a for Maguire Aviation. Maguire is one of five fixed base operators (FBOs) at Van Nuys Airport (VNY), the world’s busiest general aviation airport. The new hangar was constructed with a relatively standard metal building framing system from Butler Manufacturing Co., Kansas City, MO, and was topped with the manufacturer’s standing seam metal roofing. The hangar also features metal wall panels by Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp. of Louisville, KY; and hangar doors by Wilson Doors Inc., Elkhorn, WI.

Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) are critical to the operation of municipal airports such as Van Nuys, serving as the vehicle by which private jet ownership services are delivered, and bringing much needed efficiency, security and safety to airport operations. The hangar buildings constructed in support of these operators are generally basic in nature and more often than not utilize the pre-engineered metal building systems construction approach. In that regard, Hangar Charlie is no exception. What is different though is the building’s unique appearance. Its exterior features several horizontally oriented ribbed metal wall panels in several shades of blue, installed in a seemingly random color pattern.

The final look was the final piece as far as the hangar’s design was concerned. The decision to construct the building using a pre-engineered building system was the first.

“SPF:a was hired to work with the PEMB (pre-engineered metal building system) building type and was asked to bring its ideas to the table as a way to hopefully create a more defined product,” said a project statement by the design architect. “The first task was to adjust the master plan and to come up with ways to make site usage more efficient. Key issues included designing around guest circulation, service circulation, fuel delivery [the main business] and main access to the runaway.

“Once planning was completed, the next task was to architecturally support the already established quality Maguire brand and to help further its mission as the penultimate deliverer of FBO services. Hangar Charlie would be first among several on the site, and would be the most visible from Roscoe Boulevard,” the statement continued. “Of course the major design constraint was to create architecture utilizing the PEMB system without adding cost. SPF:a decided early on that the PEMB system of girders, beams and struts would be left untouched. With that in mind, the design team was inspired by the patterns of agricultural land usage that one views as they fly over large portions of the country—the half-regular, half-random patchiness—and decided to utilize this as a method by which to express the architecture through simple patterning of different colored standard PEMB metal panels. Blue was chosen for two reasons: a Maguire favorite and the obvious reference to the sky.”

“We, as the developer, wanted to make a dramatic statement with the exterior of the building to create a vibrant and memorable presence at the airport,” said Robin Maguire of Maguire Investments. “Our goal was to set a new standard for aviation architecture. Our reputation as developers is founded on exceptional design and superior quality. This was a new arena for us, so we needed to come out of the box with a winner. SPF:a translated a myriad of ideas into a structure that not only makes a statement but has already become an iconic presence as the airport.”

Hangar Charlie measures 320’ x 160’ x 43’. It has a 280’ clear span, a 260’ x 28’ door opening and a ½:12 roof pitch. Attached to the 44,800 sq. ft. hangar structure is a 12,800 sq. ft. conventionally constructed office.

The hangar is topped with 51,200 sq. ft. of Butler MR-24 standing seam roofing and clad with Metal Sales’ T6-A ribbed wall panels. Approximately 23,000 sq. ft. of the 24-gauge panels were used on the building’s walls while another 14,500 cover the hangar’s big Wilson doors.

T. Viole of Tarzana, CA erected the metal building system. Rick Coleman, Pasadena, CA, was the project manager. The executive architect was J.R. Miller & Associates, Brea, CA.

For information on Metal Sales wall panels and systems, visit

To see door systems and services offered by Wilson Doors Inc., go to

Aerial photograph by Linda Warren. All other photos by John Linden.

About Butler Manufacturing

Butler Manufacturing™, a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, offers metal building systems. For more information, visit

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