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One of the most recognizable landmarks of California's Silicon Valley is a huge steel-framed airship hangar, known as Hangar One, that stands on the grounds of Moffett Field in Santa Clara County of the southern San Francisco Bay Area. It looks like a giant inverted boat with a long and fat base and inward curving walls that meet at the top to form a parabolic shape 60 meters tall. It is one of the largest unsupported structures in the country.

Hangar One was built in 1933 to house the ‘USS Macon’ which was one of the biggest helium-filled airship ever to be built in America. Naturally, its hangar had to be bigger. To design the massive structure, the United States Navy roped in German air ship and structural engineer Dr. Karl Arnstein who, along with architects and engineers from Cleveland, drew up the plans. The hangar is constructed on a network of steel girders that rests firmly upon a reinforced pad anchored to concrete pilings. This steel skeleton is sheathed with galvanized steel.

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.


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