On July 11 billionaire and space enthusiast Richard Branson returned from his mission 50 miles above earth to Spaceport America, the campus where Dome Technology built a fire station when the facility was developed.
Dome Technology was contracted to build the fire station featuring an organic design that captures the feel of space exploration and complements the landscape. For improved function and a futuristic feel, the dome was built with large openings, including a 30-foot cantilevered “eyebrow” shell within the dome structure. The exterior was finished with sand-colored tiles to blend with the surroundings.
“The design of the fire station fits well with the design of the Spaceport and the overall design environment which was trying to be achieved,” said T.J. Allard, who oversees protective services at Spaceport America for Fiore Industries, a company contracted to provide protective services for the campus, including all firefighting services.
Construction was complicated by a remote job site just west of the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range. Project success was dependent upon Dome Technology’s team working closely with general contractors, the owner, and the local workforce. The site was also located on a corridor for ancient Native American travel, which required crews to be sensitive to any artifacts they encountered during construction.
Dome Technology’s team met the logistical and aesthetic challenges while providing a one-of-a-kind facility.
“With three openings more than 100 feet wide, its elliptical shape, and low profile, this dome makes a wonderful fit for the desert landscape and the first-ever (commercial) spaceport,” said Dome Technology project manager Daren Wheeler. “The customer requested that whatever the finishes were on the exterior, that it blended with the environment. The tile really does look like the desert floor.”