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First look inside Luis Vidal's new Heathrow T2

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The unveiling of a huge new sculpture by artist Richard Wilson has allowed the first glimpses of Luis Vidal + Architects’ Terminal 2 building at Heathrow Airport

The 78m-long, 77-tonne twisted aluminium artwork called Slipstream, which ‘captures the imagined flight path of a small stunt plane’, will be the focal point for passengers arriving at the new £2.5 billion terminal.

Although the official opening of the 210,000m² building, which will eventually process around 20 million passengers a year, is not until 4 June, the unveiling of Slipstream is the first major test of the terminal, with journalists and guests coming in direct from Paddington to the west London airport.

The first phase of the wider £11 billion masterplan by Foster + Partners includes a fit out by London-based AJ100 big hitter Pascall +Watson.

Passenger trials at new terminal

Passenger trials at new terminal

Previous story (AJ 22.01.14)

Luis Vidal’s £2.5bn Heathrow Terminal 2 overhaul to open in June

Madrid-based Luis Vidal + Architects’ 210,000m² redevelopment of Heathrow’s second terminal will open to the public on 4 June

The £2.5 billion project – expected to handle 20 million passengers a year – is the latest phase in an on-going £11 billion transformation of the world-famous west London airport.

Luis Vidal’s design which features an undulating steel-framed roof replaces the airport’s old Terminal 2 which opened in 1955 and closed five years ago.

Heathrow development director John Holland-Kaye said: ‘Terminal 2 has been designed with the passenger at the heart. Building on the success of Terminal 5 [by Richard Rogers and Pascall + Watson], it will bring together technology, architecture and human touches.

‘Our goal is to make every journey better for our passengers and bringing together 25 airlines in this light and airy space is just one more step in the transformation of Heathrow.’

Luis Vidal commented: ‘Airports are the Cathedrals of the 21st Century; they are the gateways to nations, and serve a public function. That is why they must look into the future and adapt themselves to changes and challenges.

‘Putting passengers first and making it easy for airlines and workers have been our drivers at Heathrow; but above all, making it welcoming and comfortable; pragmatic and functional; flooded with natural light and providing for intuitive orientation for everyone.’


Project data

The main terminal building includes:

- a satellite building – T2B (connected to T2A via an underground walkway)
- a 1,340 space multi-storey car park
- an energy centre
- 66 self-service kiosks
- 60 fast bag drops – which can also be configured for traditional use
- 56 traditional check-in desks
- huge check-in will be large enough to accommodate 3,000 passengers per hour
- 24 security lanes (17 for economy passengers, 4 Fast Track and 3 for staff and crew)
- Approximately 600 security officers, 30 passenger service ambassadors and 70 service team leaders.
- A new sculpture from British artist Richard Wilson RA, located in the covered court (measuring 70 metres, weighing 77 tonnes and suspended 18 metres in the air between two passenger walkways)

Building Facts

- £2.5billion
Site Dimensions:
- 210,000m²
- 20 million passengers per year


- 20% of Terminal 2’s energy needs will be from renewable sources
- 40.5% less CO2 emissions than a building built to 2006 building regulations
- 1,000m² square metres of photovoltaic panels on the building’s canopy
- 12MW biomass boiler heater
- Wood used to power the boiler is sustainably sourced, FSC approved timber
- The first phase will potentially save around 13,000 tonnes of CO2 a year compared to the use of natural gas and grid electricity
- Extensive glazing means more natural light. As well as glazed walls, north-facing skylights in the roof will provide glare-free daylight without heat gain (which would mean more air conditioning)

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