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Geoffrey Reid in full flight at Farnborough

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Geoffrey Reid Associates has put its proposals for a 35m-high aluminiumclad control tower at Farnborough airport before the planners (AJ 29.3.01).

The tower, which must be ready by the end of June 2002 in time for the bi-annual Farnborough Air Show, is one of three new buildings the practice is designing for airport owner TAG Aviation. A new suite of aircraft hangars and a terminal building are also on the drawing board, although they are not yet ready for a planning application. The airport is being developed as an executive travel hub, suitable for aircraft no larger than a Boeing 737.

All three structures are to be sheathed in compound-curved metal sheets and architects are currently exploring the benefits of commissioning a boatyard to undertake the work - much like Future Systems did with its NatWest Media Centre at Lord's cricket ground.

Although conventional cladding manufacturers were keen to undertake the work, said associate director Colin Calderhead, they would not be able to embark on the project with the confidence of a boat builder. 'It's all about asking the question: who are the right people to engineer a building?'

The practice was anxious to explore the 'theatre of aviation'and had to work with the fact that around 50 per cent of travellers will not use the terminal building - they will, instead, drive straight on to the runway.

Architects have devised an elevated road entrance which threads between the terminal and aircraft hangars, allowing travellers to look down upon their waiting plane.Other passengers will walk straight through the boomerang-shaped terminal, unhindered by check-in desks or customs.

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