Hawkins\Brown, Maccreanor Lavington and Rick Mather Architects release designs
The big UK airport debate rages on and this week, three designs have been released from top UK practices reimagining the Heathrow Airport site as a mixed-use development, buzzing with local residences and business models. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed plans to redevelop the site to meet London’s need for jobs and permanent homes, and is in favour of constructing a new hub airport in the Inner Thames Estuary.
The following are excerpts from the three latest proposals for the Heathrow Airport site from Hawkins\Brown, Maccreanor Lavington Architects and Rick Mather Architects. Click here to read the full project proposals.
Hawkins\Brown - Romance Of The Sky
Heathrow City should be a massive platform for innovation - London’s petri dish - where new ideas can be incubated in the fields of technology, industry and governance. Three big ideas are proposed - the UK’s first airship port, a factory for homes and a green belt in the green belt.
Airship Port: This proposal would see a consolidation of the existing infrastructure into a new generation of service for freighting specialised goods and even for tourism and business travel.
Factory for Homes: A factory for building homes will democratise the delivery of housing - opening up the site to self-build, co-operatives and small, bespoke developers.
A Green Belt In The Green Belt: Like a Hyde Park of the west, the green belt within the green belt will define Heathrow City at a sub-regional scale and become one of the great parks of London. The existing airport runways will be turned into a superscale continuous linear park.
Maccreanor Lavington Architects - Livable City
Central to the successful delivery will be the development of a flexible framework whose vision is de-coupled from a specific timeframe; the ability to flex delivery in response to opportunities, accelerate and decelerate delivery as necessary proving to be its success.
Existing buildings are used as seeds and nodes to establish fresh development and certain existing and historic features are used to ignite ecological and cultural diversity to create a liveable landscape. The former terminal 2 building will be renovated to become a civic centre and retail hub. It will form the heart of the new community at Heathrow Central, sparking urban development.
A new, layered context of forestation, historic landscape, and city activities is created on the inherited ecologically and culturally inert post-airport landscape. The contaminated ground would be cleansed through bioremediation and the planting of trees, which will build an ecosystem and provide biomass and employment through coppicing. The contaminated hard-standing will be mined and processed on site to provide biofuel and the decontaminated aggregate will be reused in the construction of various structures on the site.
In the east of the Heathrow site, Technical blocks A and B will become the focal point for a new technology campus. London is a world leader for technological development in many areas.
Rick Mather Architects - The Transforming City
Through working with the existing structure and by seeing the terminals as generators to development, the site can be sequentially and naturally transformed. It will be a model for a city embedded in its setting and wider landscape; singular and collective, tuned for local, regional, national and international opportunity, and composed of distinctive areas, a main centre, with a wide range of building types, held together as a whole.
The former runways define the structure of the city, connecting the various elements together while at the same time acting as orientation devices to define the different neighbourhoods. Each of the ten distinct character areas are connected by these linear runway parks. Each local centre provides a traditional cluster of retail, education and community uses focused around the transport connection and retained airport buildings.
The central area is conceived as similar to a medieval core of a town, where the historic geometries underpin the complex weave of existing buildings. A new series of buildings can be ‘woven’ around the retained existing buildings, which, as it is sequentially developed and built out, creates a natural and carefully considered informality. Parkland surrounds the medieval gates and walls, providing a spatial continuity to the terminal buildings.