After 54 years of service, Heathrow’s Terminal 2 closed in 2009. But come this June, a newly named “Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal” is set to reopen.
Despite being built in the center of one of the world’s busiest airports, the construction project has not disrupted daily operations. Luis Vidal + Architects have been the concept and lead architects for the new terminal, collaborating with Pascall + Watson during fit-out. Foster + Partners were the Heathrow Airport master planners.
Architect Luis Vidal comments:
Airports are the Cathedrals of the 21st Century; they are the gateways to nations, and serve a public function. That is why they must look into the future and adapt themselves to changes and challenges. Putting passengers first and making it easy for airlines and workers have been our drivers at Heathrow; but above all, making it welcoming and comfortable; pragmatic and functional; flooded with natural light and providing for intuitive orientation for everyone.
The £2.5 billion development includes the main Terminal 2 building; a monumental new sculpture by renowned artist Richard Wilson RA; a 1,340-space car park and an energy centre and cooling station. Upon completion, it will have been one of the largest privately funded construction projects in the UK, taking five years to complete and resulting in 35,000 jobs.
The official opening date is June 4th when a United Airlines flight from Chicago is scheduled to land at the new building in the early morning. Once operating, the terminal will become British home to 23 Star Alliance airlines as well as Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and germanwings carriers. It is anticipated to serve 20 million passengers a year, with an average of 55,000 passengers expected to arrive and depart from the terminal daily once in full operation.
Says Star Alliance CEO, Mark Schwab:
In June this year we will ring in a new era for our customers, member carriers and employees at London Heathrow. The purpose built Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal – will be our home and will offer a superior travel experience to our customers, create new business opportunities for our member carriers and provide an improved working environment for employees.
Terminal 2 is set to have 67 retail outlets in total including shops, bars and restaurants. Among them will be a new venture by celebrity British chef, Heston Blumenthal. Still under development, the new restaurant’s menu will showcase Blumenthal’s love for nostalgia and “all things British” and will feature some of Britain’s favorite meals inspired by his “In Search of Perfection” TV series.
This is an incredible project. There are so many different elements to consider when people are travelling. We want to deliver a broad spectrum of easy to enjoy, familiar dishes from fish and chips to pizza. When we made the “In Search of Perfection” series we spent hours researching the temperature of a pizza oven or the crunch of batter; it’s this inspiration that is behind the menu at Heathrow – with some truly British eccentricity thrown in for good measure.
Plans for Terminal 2 suggest a spacious, open terminal. Updating it has been the next major step in the transformation of Heathrow, continuing the progress made in recent years with the opening of Terminal 5 and the refurbishment of Terminals 1, 3 and 4. £11bn has been spent on the airport over the last decade.
Heathrow Development Director John Holland-Kaye puts it this way:
Terminal 2 has been designed with the passenger at the heart. Building on the success of Terminal 5, it will bring together technology, architecture and human touches. Our goal is to make every journey better for our passengers and bringing together 25 airlines in this light and airy space is just one more step in the transformation of Heathrow.
For more information about developments at London’s Heathrow International Airport go to heathrowairport.com.
Photo: eGuide Travel