4-runway mega-hub at Stansted airport proposed by “Make” architects
‘Build 4-runway mega-hub at Stansted airport’
22 October 2012
The proposal’s backers say building a huge new airport in the Essex countryside will be easier, quicker and less expensive than the £50 billion “Boris Island”scheme in the Thames Estuary.
The Stansted vision has been put together by Ken Shuttleworth, the architect behind the Gherkin Tower in the City.
The plans from his practice, Make Architects, would see Heathrow either entirely redeveloped or drastically reduced in size.
They would involve building three new 4km-long runways at Stansted and creating a new Crossrail link from Stansted to Stratford, reducing train journey times to 25 minutes.
The Norman Foster-designed 1991 main terminal building could also be transformed into a train station under the plans but full architectural details have yet to be revealed. Timescales and construction cost have also yet to be confirmed.
Mr Shuttleworth said: “Stansted has very good transport links in terms of the M11 and railway and fairly low population density.
“It’s also closer in real terms to the majority of people in the UK, rather than just London.”
But any proposal to expand Stansted would meet huge opposition from highly organised local residents’ groups. The new bid is the latest option on the table for the Government, facing increasing pressure to find a quick solution to London’s aviation bottleneck.
Mayor Boris Johnson is thought to be moving away from his idea of an estuary airport and towards Stansted as a site for a hub airport.
Gatwick has already announced plans for a new runway to double its capacity to 70 million passengers a year.
Reaction from Stop Stansted Expansion to Boris’s plans:
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has invented a new word – ‘bonkeramus’ – in response to Boris Johnson’s suggestion of Stansted being developed as the UK’s new hub airport with four runways and operating on 24/7 basis.
SSE Economics Adviser Brian Ross commented: “Boris is fond of inventing new words and we’re sure that, with his expertise in Latin, he’ll understand that bonkeramus means ‘a bonkers idea put forward by an ignoramus’. The Mayor of London has neither the knowledge nor the authority to pronounce on airports policy for the East of England. He should stick to running buses and bicycles in London.”
Boris Johnson’s suggestion of major expansion at Stansted was made in a speech to London businessmen last week where he said that London needed more airport capacity but he re-affirmed his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow and hinted that his earlier ‘Boris island’ idea could be unaffordable.
The Mayor of London’s intervention comes less than a month after the Government announced that it would be setting up an independent Commission under Sir Howard Davies to identify and recommend options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation. The Davies Commission will produce an interim report by the end of next year and a final report by the summer of 2015, after the next General Election.
SSE has condemned Boris Johnson’s intervention, describing it as trying to pre-empt the work of the Davies Commission. Mr Ross concluded: “Boris should remember that he is the Mayor of London and has no mandate for the East of England. We will not stand idly by if he tries to appease his West London voters at our expense with an ‘anywhere but Heathrow’ policy.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Stansted is expected to handle some 17 million passengers this year, compared to its 2007 peak of 24 million. It has permission to handle 35 million passengers a year.
Two airlines, Easyjet and Ryanair, account for over 90% of Stansted’s passengers. The airport no longer has any long haul passenger flights.
19.10.2012 (Architects Journal)
“Make” reveals Stansted airport mega-hub proposals
Make Architects has joined the battle to solve the UK’s aviation capacity problems by unveiling plans to transform Stansted Airport into a four-runway mega-hub
The new proposals place the firm in direct competition with Foster + Partners – the former practice of Make founder Ken Shuttleworth – and global giant Gensler who have mooted alternative solutions to the country’s aviation crisis.
Both have focussed on creating new super-connected hubs in the isolated Thames Estuary. But the high-profile AJ100 practice believes the expansion of the single-runway Essex airport is the only ‘do-able’ option to replace Heathrow as the UK’s largest air travel hub.
Earlier this week architect Brian Waters and transport consultant Michael Schabas kickstarted a debate over Stansted by floating an £8 billion vision to transform the airport into a Crossrail-connected hub.
Make’s Stansted hub – like Foster’s £50 billion Thames Estuary scheme – would be able to handle around 150 million passengers a year.
However practice director Ken Shuttleworth, who left Fosters to set up Make in 2004, claimed the construction cost would be ‘considerably less’ than Foster’s vision because it excludes the need for significant infrastructure investment.
He said: ‘[Foster and Partner’s] proposal is very ambitious and has to be applauded for that.’
‘But there is more than one option,’ he said. ‘It’s an amazing option, but the reality of making it is more challenging in the UK than in Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur.’
Explaining his scheme’s advantages, he added: ‘Stansted has very good transport links in terms of the M11 and railway and fairly low population density. It’s all built on land and it’s also closer in real terms to the majority of people in the UK, than to London.’
Under Make’s plans Heathrow would either be entirely redeveloped or reduced in size.
Shuttleworth worked at Fosters from 1977 to 2004 but was not involved in the studio’s design for Stansted Airport which opened in 1991.
Plans worked up by Make propose building three new four kilometre-long runways at Stansted and creating a new Crossrail link from the airport to Stratford, reducing train journey times from the capital to 25 minutes.
A Foster-designed 1991 main terminal building could also be transformed into a train station under the plans however full architectural details have yet to be revealed. Timescales and construction cost have yet to be confirmed.
The independent bid is the latest option on the table for the government which is facing increasing pressure to find a quick solution to the bottleneck.
This week London mayor Boris Johnson – who backs either expanding Stansted or creating a Thames Estuary airport – threatened a judicial review against the government for deferring its decision on airport capacity until 2015.
Mayor Johnson’s aviation chief Daniel Moylan is also understood to favour the principle of developing Stansted as a hub airport.
Gatwick has meanwhile announced plans for a new runway to double its capacity to 70 million passengers a year.
Read more in next week’s AJ.
Transport plan: Make Architects’ Stansted Airport mega-hub proposal in Essex