Who says flying is dying? In London, they are coming up with all kinds of schemes to keep packing in more planes. There is the hugely controversial third runway proposal for Heathrow, which Architect Ian Mulcahey of Gensler calls little more than a "sticking plaster", britspeak for a Bandaid. He has his own grand plan, for a giant floating airport in the middle of the Thames River. He tells Dezeen: "The scheme totally rethinks how the airport of the future will operate."
Building upon the UK’s capability as a world leader in marine construction, London Britannia Airport includes four five-kilometre floating runways. To minimise environmental disruption the runways are tethered to the sea bed and to the final departure concourse which provides access to the marine rail tunnels that connect directly to central London and the European High Speed Rail Networks.
The design’s inherent flexibility creates a platform whereby runways can be floated in as required and taken away for maintenance in the future. The concept allows for future expansion to accommodate 6 runways when required.
By floating the runway and its associated hard standing it is possible to avoid the negative effects of land reclamation in the sensitive estuarine waters of the Thames. The location of the airport can then be optimised to avoid the key feeding and migration areas between high and low water.
There are also plans to rebuild Heathrow as an eco-city.
The proposals also envisage a new future for Heathrow as the largest urban expansion project in Europe with the development of an eco city – Heathrow Gardens – on the former airfield that can utilise the existing infrastructure to provide additional homes for 300,000 people and employment for over 200,000.
It seems a slightly less grand vision than Lord Foster's proposal that we showed earlier, which reinvented transportation for the whole country. But it floats, so as the oceans continue to rise due all the greenhouse gases generated by all those fossil fuel powered planes, it will stay right on top.
It is certainly more plausible than the crazy airport in the Thames that Inhabitat found: