Waiting for Heathrow

by Olivia Forty from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Tutored by: Roberto Cavallo, Leo Van Den Burg, Engbert Van Der Zaag

Author comments:

The project is based on the uncertainty of development in Slough, a town just outside London, close to Heathrow Airport. Huge, regional infrastructure developments are in the pipeline, and the project deals with what will happen to Slough if Heathrow is to expand, as planned.

In uncertain times, the project aims to use architecture to take the shock of any eventuality, ultimately fortifying Slough in terms of economy and liveability through strengthening a partnership with Heathrow. At the heart of the town sits the Slough Trading Estate, which is vital for the town’s economy, but which is physically and socially divided from the town itself.

The proposal aims to:
Make the relationship between Heathrow Airport and Slough town mutually beneficial
Bridge the physical and social gap between Slough and the Trading Estate
Create something which acts both economically and formally as a magnetic strip across the problematic site, absorbing changes at Heathrow.

It has three strands: mobility, education, public space. A circular tram line surrounds the Trading Estate which sits in the heart of the town, with tram stops and education centres placed at intervals. These are centres of activity and mobility, and the string in between acts as a constant architectural intervention which deals with the lack of public space in the void between the town and the Trading Estate, and can absorb any future changes. This takes the form of a brick colonnade.

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