With Heathrow Airport celebrating its 70th birthday this week Gibberd Architects take a look back at the Partnerships involvement in the design for this iconic airport.
The appointment for the masterplanning and design of Heathrow Airport was the commission that allowed Frederick Gibberd to recommence practice after WW2. It would remain one of the key areas of work for the following 35 years.
The government had requisitioned land around a private aerodrome to build RAF Heston, used for long-haul troop flights to the Far East, and laid out the ‘Star of David’ pattern of runways which still characterise the site today. At the end of the war the site was cleared of military buildings and handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority to commence a passenger service, with makeshift terminals in a tented city.
When operations began in 1946 there were 63,000 passenger per year, but it quickly became clear that passenger numbers would soon exceed all projections. Seventy years on, three times that number use the airport daily, as Heathrow became one of the busiest airports in the world.
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