Armies of drones, electric cars and an air traffic control tower reclaimed by nature, all feature in proposals to transform London’s Heathrow Airport into a new city.
Three leading British architects were commissioned to produce the conceptual designs by Transport for London and backed by Mayor Boris Johnson, following his appeal to relocate the airport to the east of the capital and replace it with housing to support rapid population growth.
The plans for the new Heathrow City – submitted by Hawkins\Brown, Rick Mather Architects and Maccreanor Lavington – include proposals for lush park land, scientific research centres and a factory for manufacturing modular housing units.
Entitled ‘Romance of the Sky’, Hawkins\Brown’s proposal is centred around a factory for self-build homes. Londoners would be able to customise their home designs online through digital fabrication technology, and have the parts delivered by airborne drones and electric cars.
Rick Mather Architects has envisaged a scheme that sees the airport’s existing terminals transformed into a new “hub city”, using former runways to connect ten local centres for retail, educational and community use. The digital images illustrate a beautifully landscaped environment, with Heathrow’s distinct air traffic control tower covered in plants.
The ‘Livable City’, developed by Maccreanor Lavington Architects, also utilizes existing airport infrastructure, renovating the former terminal 2 building to become a civic center and retail hub. A technology campus for scientific research and development is proposed for the east of the current site.
New London Architecture is hosting an exhibition of the proposals in London, along with a series of debates to explore the viability of Heathrow City.