No Third Runway But Here's an Architectural Bunker to Block It

parven bunker photo

Images from makeshift

Much to the joy of environmentalists, in its first week the new coalition government in the UK announced that the third runway at Heathrow Airport was being cancelled.

Last autumn, unaware of this twist of fate, Greenpeace held an architectural competition asking architects to design an impregnable fortress to block the runway. Despite the fact that it won't be built, the winner has been announced: London architects Alastair Parvin and Lukas Barry.

make shift photo

Image from makeshift

The structure is similar to a burial ground, complete with tunnel network for people to live and work in. The architects described it as "a defendable structure which is a physical articulation of people-power. It will be collectively created by the thousands of individuals who oppose the runway plans, each person contributing a sack of earth to build up the structure." Calling it an "anti-monument", it is a participatory work, built of bags of earth, each one donated with the donor's name on it. The tunnel network within the structure will be kept a carefully guarded secret.

play ground photo

Exclamation Park: Phillip Schone and Emma Penttinen

There were nearly 70 entries to the competition. The winner was decided by a panel which included architects and consultants. Other submissions including an adventure playground with underground complex as well as a rubber house made from thousands of discarded aircraft tires.

Greenpeace could hold the competition because last year, in a high-profile campaign supported by actress Emma Thompson and others, they bought an acre of land in the middle of the proposed third runway. The ownership of the acre was spread amongst 90,000 members in order to create complicated legal difficulties for the expropriation.

grim bunker photo

Frustum by Marc Drewes

The competition was launched to to design what Greenpeace thought "could become the next frontline in the fight against climate change"

In an astonishing about-face, Greenpeace presented the new Prime Minister with the legal Deed of Trust containing the names of over 90,000 people who are joint owners of the acre of land. Who would have thought.

More on the Plot at Heathrow's Third Runway
Airplot! British Celebrities & Greenpeace Buy Heathrow Land
Greenpeace to Build Fortress on Heathrow Airport Runway
Third Runway at Heathrow Airport Approved Again

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