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Building No 1, Spirit Aerosystems, Prestwick, (Former Palace of Engineering)

A Category C Listed Building in Kyle, South Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.5143 / 55°30'51"N

Longitude: -4.599 / 4°35'56"W

OS Eastings: 235994

OS Northings: 627578

OS Grid: NS359275

Mapcode National: GBR 3B.TRKY

Mapcode Global: WH3QN.BN8H

Entry Name: Building No 1, Spirit Aerosystems, Prestwick, (Former Palace of Engineering)

Listing Date: 25 January 2011

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400597

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51683

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Monkton and Prestwick

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Kyle

Parish: Monkton And Prestwick

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Launcelot Ross, 1937-8, with Thomas S Tait, supervising architect. 1941 in present location, transferred from 1938 Empire Exhibition. Massive, rectangular-plan, Art-Deco, near symmetrical, former hangar (currently engineering works, 2010) with advanced, lower, curved, extension wings to front elevation (S) and further flat-roofed extension to left. Steel frame. Predominantly white aluminium cladding with contrasting blue details. Horizontal strip windows to left and right wings. Some curtain walling to extension. Some later 1940s single and 2-storey red brick additions to W, N and E and later, single-storey entrance extension to front elevation at left.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: ENTRANCE ELEVATION (S): central, large symmetrical rectangular entrance bay with contrasting inset panel with some 6-light fixed strip windows and slightly advanced single-storey porch. Flanked by advanced, lower, round-ended wings. To far left, further advanced, lower block with advanced curved stair tower and round-end at far left.

Predominantly replacement metal and plastic windows, mostly fixed, some top-opening. Mostly flatroofs.

INTERIOR: (part seen, 2010). Main hall with large open space with gantry machinery. Timber stair case to left wing. Wings converted to office space.

Statement of Interest

This striking former Palace of Engineering Building is one of the few remaining buildings existing from the 1938 Empire Exhibition held in Glasgow. The massive scale of the building with its Art Deco detailing and curved pavilion ends are distinctive and unusual qualities. The building was moved to its present location in 1941 and the essential Art Deco form was retained, although some alteration took place to allow for its re-use as a hangar. The building played an important role in WW2 as a centre for repairing military planes. Some brick extensions were added to the building at this time to provide more space.

The building was built as the Palace of Engineering for the Empire Exhibition of 1938, held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. This international exhibition celebrated industry and had exhibits from around the Commonwealth with a number of pavilions housing different aspects of industry. Thomas Tait was the architect-in-chief for the project and he was aided by a number of other architects, including Launcelot Ross (1885-1956). The Palace of Engineering was the largest building on the site. Scottish Aviation purchased the building in 1940 and moved it to Prestwick, erecting it alongside the airfield and it was used as a large hangar for the repair of aircraft in WW2. The move was completed in 4 months by the civil engineering department. Some alterations were made when the building was transferred including the insertion of the strip windows to the curved extensions, where previously there had been painted panels and the removal of columns to widen the entrance.

Launcelot Ross (1885-1956) was a friend of the architect Thomas Tait and his work was strongly influenced by him. He practised mostly in Glasgow and he had a major role in designing buildings for the Empire Exhibition.

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