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Grimshaw wins contest to design Heathrow's ‘terminal of the future’

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Heathrow Airport has chosen Grimshaw to draw up concepts for a ’hub airport of the future’ as part of its ambitious £16 billion growth plans

The practice, which saw off Zaha Hadid Architects, Benoy and HOK, was praised for ’pushing the boundary of what an airport could and should be’ and for showing ’how Heathrow could be expanded in a sustainable but affordable way’.

The airport, which plans to build a controversial third runway, said Grimshaw’s appointment sent ’a clear signal to the government that Heathrow is a ready-to-go, privately financed infrastructure project’.

Last July Howard Davies published a long-awaited report into aviation capacity recommending the construction of an extra runway at Heathrow, claiming that it would deliver the most economic growth to the country and potentially add £147 billion to the economy (see AJ 01.07.15).

However, new prime minister Theresa May – whose Maidenhead constituency is close to the airport – has previously opposed expanding the airport, raising concerns about noise, reaching climate targets and night flights. Two of her key allies, education secretary Justine Greening and chancellor Philip Hammond, also oppose a third runway at the west London airport.

New transport secretary Chris Grayling has not expressed his view on Heathrow publicly, though it was reported that he privately backed the expansion in 2009.

Last week, London mayor Sadiq Khan urged May to back a second runway at Gatwick and to make a decision on the airport expansion a top priority. 

We are ready to begin the process of expansion once the government makes the right choice for Britain

Despite this Heathrow remains bullish about its own plans. Head of design at Heathrow, Barry Weekes, said: ’With the concept architect and programme client partners now in place, we are now ready to begin the process of expansion once the government makes the right choice for the whole of Britain.’

Shortlist in full

  • Benoy
  • Grimshaw
  • HOK
  • Zaha Hadid Architects

Partner at Grimshaw, Andrew Thomas, said: ’We believe the expansion of Heathrow is vital to maintaining the UK’s place within the global economy and we look forward to developing a design that provides an authentic and uniquely British sense of place.

’Our concept will deliver an outstanding passenger experience by building upon the airport’s rich history, while also setting a new standard for the future of aviation.’

WINNER: Grimshaw's proposals for Heathrow's 'terminal of the future'

WINNER: Grimshaw‘s proposals for Heathrow’s ’terminal of the future’

Grimshaw’s competition-scheme shown in the foreground. Future phases shown as lit-up, bubble-like spaces

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Has anyone else noticed that these images wipe out the whole of the central terminals, including the recently finished Queens Building. What waste.
    If no longer in Europe Britain really needs a hub airport, how about Birmingham, already on the HS2 route and next to the NEC.

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