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Heathrow names Zaha and Benoy on shortlist for ‘terminal of the future’

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Heathrow Airport has chosen four practices including Zaha Hadid Architects to draw up concepts for a ’hub airport of the future’ as part of its expansion plans

The firm, whose founder Zaha Hadid died in March, is joined on the shortlist by Grimshaw, Benoy and HOK - originally rumoured to be working with Thomas Heatherwick on the job.

Heathrow, which plans to build a controversial third runway, challenged the British-based teams ’to redefine what an airport should be’ and create ambitious visions for a new ’global gateway’.

Shortlist in full:

  • Benoy
  • Grimshaw
  • HOK
  • Zaha Hadid Architects

A spokesman for Heathrow said: ’[The practices] were asked to come up with bold ideas to create a world-class sustainable airport that would deliver innovations in passenger service, integrate local communities and showcase the best of British design.

’Affordability and flexibility were also key to the brief to ensure that Heathrow remained adaptable in the fast-paced world of global aviation.’

According to the airport the, teams will now be ’further tested [on] their creativity’ before a final concept designer is selected in July.

In July last year (AJ 01.07.15) the Howard Davies-backed Airports Commission, set up to investigate how the UK could increase its aviation capacity, announced that another runway at Heathrow would deliver the most economic growth to the country, potentially adding £147 billion to the economy and providing 70,000 jobs by 2050.

However the recommendation to expand the west London airport has yet to be officially backed at the highest level, prompting the Transport Select Committee to urge the government to stop ‘dithering’ over its decision.

In a report on airport expansion published earlier this month, the the committee of 11 MPs called on the government to back Heathrow ‘without delay’, saying the airport provided the ’greatest economic benefit’ for the UK.


Heathrow’s head of design, Barry Weekes

’From welcoming Concorde to the landmark Terminals 2 and 5, Heathrow has always been at the heart of showcasing the best of British innovation and design.

The visionary concepts are just the start of a dialogue which will fundamentally redefine what an airport is, how it looks and feels, how it interacts with its environment and an increasingly demanding generation of new passengers and importantly enhancing how it connects with the communities around it. Our ambition for expansion is to transform Heathrow once again – building Britain a value for money global gateway at the forefront of sustainable development and innovative design.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Surely the planes which use an airport largely define how it "interacts with its environment" and given IPCC concerns over the broad impacts of air travel, it's hard to see how architects' input into building design is going to turn expanding air travel into something environmentally positive. Paris COP seems a long while ago...

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