First flights touch down at Heathrow T2

04 Jun 2014

Heathrow Terminal 2 opens at 10% capacity for three weeks as part of staged launch

At 5.55am this morning, the first flight landed at Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 (T2). Designed by luis vidal + architects with Pascall and Watson and Foster + Partners, T2 is the latest phase in a major redevelopment scheme by the London airport which has seen £11bn private sector investment since 2003.

The opening of the Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners-designed Terminal 5 (T5) in 2008 created a prime opportunity for Heathrow to initiate the redevelopment of T2, originally opened in 1946 as the airport’s first passenger terminal. The existing building was designed with a 1 million passenger capacity but by the turn of the century more than 8 million passengers were passing through its doors each year.

The new T2 is to be opened in stages over the next six months and will only operate at 10% capacity (approx. 6,000 passengers per day) for the first three weeks. Following this initial period, the 26 airlines currently operating at T5 will move into their new home.

One of the key goals for luis vidal + architects (LVA) was to create a destination airport, as Luis Vidal explains: “Terminal 2 is much more than a building conceived for planes and passengers to take off and land: LVA has created this terminal as a destination unto itself, attracting passengers to the terminal earlier than their departure time in order to spend time, enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and have experiences with the wide range of amenities, services and retail the airport has to offer.”

As such, T2 has a total of 33 shops and 17 restaurants with free WiFi. The 'destination' offerings include a restaurant headed by world-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal and a personal shopper on hand to help travellers pick up any last-minute essentials.

In terms of size, the footprint of terminal is approximately 40,000 sq m, making it four times larger than Buckingham Palace. This incorporates 28 gates, 66 self-service kiosks, 29 security lanes, 60 check-in desks, 634 toilets and 8 A380 piers.

A 50,000 sq m undulating wave roof graces the top of the terminal, punctured with skylights which flood the cavernous space below with natural light. These generous skylights are coupled with 10m-high floor-to-ceiling windows which add to the bright and airy feel of the new terminal.

The grand roof system is only one of many eco-friendly features incorporated into LVA’s design. 20% of the energy used by T2 will come from renewable resources and an onsite renewable energy centre generates heat and power from woodchip, efficient gas boilers and cooling stations. The use of woodchip alone is estimated to save the development 13,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

It is also noteworthy that 99%+ of the demolished materials from the original T2 complex were recycled or reused for energy. Plans are to expand the new T2 facility over the site of the existing T1, eventually replacing T3. Should the UK Government approve plans for a third runway at Heathrow, the freshly-opened T2 will be extended even further. 



Development Director for Heathrow Airport: John Holland-Kaye
Development Director for Terminal 2: Stephen Livingstone
Design Leader for Terminal 2: Karen Rogers
Terminal 2 Landside Projects Lead at BAA: Andy Weber


Concept and Lead Architects for Terminal 2: luis vidal + architects
Founder: Luis Vidal
Partners: Marta Cumellas and Óscar Torrejón
Project Director: Óscar Torrejón
Collaborating architects during fit out: Pascall and Watson
Airport master planners and east terminal building concept architects during the initial project phase: Foster + Partners


Concept Engineering: O.T. Ferrovial Agroman
Structure Engineering: FhecorCG proyectos; Merebrook
Mechanical Engineering: Solventa; Immodo; Carma; Euroestudios
Mechanical Engineering and Acoustics: Hoare Lea Consulting
B & Q: Davis Langdon Schumann Smith; Gleeds
Fire Strategy: Warrington Fire Research
Access and Maintenance: Reef Associates
Baggage: Siemens-Vanderlande
Lighting: Fractal

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