BAA, the airport's operator, is considering the demolition of Terminal 2 and the Queen's Building, the oldest parts of the airport, in order to construct a £1.5 billion facility capable of handling up to 30 million passengers.
If discussions with airlines about the viability of the project are successful, construction could start in 2009.
The scheme, known as Heathrow East, would 'create a new terminal to match the main terminal 5 building in terms of scale and ambience and equal and surpass it in terms of form and function.'
Terminal 5, designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership, is currently under construction and expected to be completed by 2008. However, the practice confirmed to the AJ it has no current involvement with the Heathrow East proposals.
Gibberd was significantly involved in the development of Heathrow airport, designing Terminal 2 in 1955, Building 3 in 1962 and Terminal 1 six years later. Terminal 4, designed by Scott, Brownrigg and Turner, was opened in 1986 to tackle central congestion, and is situated to the south of the other terminals.
The much-altered Terminal 2 building has been unable to cope with increased airport traffic. Heathrow East would help the airport meet its targets for lower energy use; it does not include any increase in passenger numbers.
BAA intends to submit a planning proposal by 2007.
by Will Hunter