Greenpeace to Build Fortress on Heathrow Airport Runway


Image from the Evening Standard

Here's a green job for an innovative architect. Greenpeace bought a one acre plot of land smack in the middle of the proposed third runway at London's Heathrow Airport. They are holding a competition to design an "impenetrable fortress" building to be erected there.

It had better be a fortress. It is meant to house and protect the opponents of the airport's expansion. If the bulldozers roll in, this is what they will be aiming for.


Image from Greenpeace

In fact the land is owned by more than 60,000 people. Calling it Airplot, Greenpeace bought the acre and then distributed the ownership which will create enormous legal complexities for the government when they try and expropriate. It's an orchard and allotment garden now in the village of Sipson. Since the local council supports the anti-airport expansion battle, planning permission for the structure is likely to be granted quickly.

The competition's brief says "This is a competition to design what could become the next front line in the fight against climate change. We're looking for a structure that is immovable from which to block the diggers." Engineers, artists, landscape designers and sculptors will be invited to submit proposals alongside architects. The public has also been invited to contribute their ideas. "Be creative, imaginative, off the wall."

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: "This is a competition to design what could become the next frontline in the fight against climate change. We can raise the funds to build it, now we need the right design.

"We're looking for a structure that is immovable and allows local residents and seasoned environmental campaigners to peacefully block the diggers. It might be underground, it might be overground, it might be both, that's up to the panel of experienced judges from the worlds of architecture and activism to decide."

They have big plans for the building: it must have a zero-carbon footprint and it must be immovable as well as providing security for the protesters. It can be overground or underground. Once the winning design is chosen, then the fundraising will begin, unless the runway plans are dropped.

Tags: Activism | Communities | Green Building

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