heathrow terminal 5

An engineering and architectural tour de force this breathtaking design added much needed capacity to Heathrow Airport. The huge column less structure also for total programme flexibility and future proof's the building. Stuart Forbes worked on this project whilst at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The construction of a fifth terminal at London Heathrow, seen as critical to the airport’s continuing position as the busiest in Europe, was the subject of a limited competition in 1989. The winning Richard Rogers Partnershipscheme was based on a projected capacity of 30 million passengers annually and reflects the success of ‘single-level’ airport terminals such as London Stansted. The passenger areas at Terminal 5 are on one level with plant rooms, baggage handling and   other   ancillary  functions  below,  though  passenger   areas   extend over two levels at both edges of the building. The immense roof is dynamically curved, with great bands of  glazing  flooding  the interior with daylight and leading passengers through the building in a logical progression from arrival point to embarkation. The building is effectively a dramatic progression of spaces which vary in height according to their function. The structure is strongly expressed with great structural ‘trees’ supporting the roof.  


Aircraft load and unload at stands on the core building as well as at two satellites served by a rapid-transit system. Provision is made for an underground and mainline rail link from central London, contained in deep tunnels. Natural ventilation is impractical in view of noise and air pollution from aircraft but the design adopts an energy-efficient strategy using a displacement air-conditioning system developed by Arup and shading by means of canopies and low eaves to reduce solar gain on the long east and west elevations.

Stuart’s involvement on this project amounted to 3 completely independent periods of work, the first being the competition entry, the second being to develop the specific building technologies and cross sections and finally, with a few years break between, to run and co-ordinate the team through to the completion of the scheme design phase of the project.

Architect's section of Terminal 5. The car park entrance courtyards, arrivals and departues and office space, the aircraft bays, transit system and tube station for the Piccadilly Line and Heathrow Express are all shown this drawing 
Early CGIs for the Terminal 5 proposal by RSHP
CGI of the aircraft stands for one of the Terminal 5 satallitle terminals.