“”The Transforming City” | Heathrow City Proposal by Rick Mather Architects


Our proposal “The Transforming City” explores the natural emergence of a vibrant and integrated new hub city from the existing airport structure, embedded in its setting and wider landscape, singular and distinctive, at one with its immediate setting and locality, yet fully tuned for regional, national and international opportunity.

This vision for Heathrow City will see it grow and evolve naturally from the existing airport structure to be a genuine piece of city, defined by its whole context, both present and future, achieving a real sense of place, while accommodating a multiplicity of scenarios. Through working with the existing structure and by seeing the terminals as generators to development, the site can be sequentially and naturally transformed.

It will be a model for a city embedded in its setting and wider landscape; singular and collective, tuned for local, regional, national and international opportunity, and composed of distinctive areas, a main centre, with a wide range of building types, held together as a whole.

The former runways define the structure of the city, connecting the various elements together while at the same time acting as orientation devices to define.

the different neighborhoods  Each of the ten distinct character areas are connected by these linear runway parks. These seams can absorb more specialist and varied activity along their length, from leisure, education to specialist building types. Each local centre provides a traditional cluster of retail, education and community uses focused around the transport connection and retained airport buildings.

The central area is conceived as similar to a medieval core of a town, where the historic geometries underpin the complex weave of existing buildings. A new series of buildings can be “woven” around the retained existing buildings, which, as it is sequentially developed and built out, creates a natural and carefully considered informality. Parkland surrounds the medieval gates and walls, providing a spatial continuity to the terminal buildings.

By recognizing the potential of its position to connect the London and UK economies and addressing the capital’s housing shortage, Heathrow City can and must meet these needs, and beyond, being instrumental to how the UK performs for future generations.