Demystifying the London Airport Conundrum with Ricky Burdett

There’s no denying that London’s airport capacity is insufficient (to put it mildly) – not just for its current needs, but, most worryingly, for the future. Nor are architects ignorant to the situation; in the last few years we’ve published proposals from the likes of Foster+PartnersZaha Hadid ArchitectsBeckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects, offering their own unique perspectives on what could be done.

However, for all the proposals (some emphasizing new off-shore airports, others on bulking up or existing facilities), it’s hard to untangle what’s actually being done towards making these ideas reality. To clarify the situation, and lay our doubts at rest, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, one of the commissioners of the newly created Independent Airports Commission.

In the video above, Burdett, a renowned architect and professor of Urban Studies at the LSE (who has previously served as architecural advisor for both the 2012 London Olympics and the Mayor of London, 2001-2006), explains the political situation in that has been preventing action, and describes how the Independent Airports Commission has been assembled in order to help the government through this process.

More info on this controversial commission, after the break…

Foster and Partners’ Hub Proposal in the Thames Estuary. Image courtesy of Foster and Partners.

Of course, the government’s decision to set up this commission has not been without controversy, particularly due to the 3-year deadline the government has given it to propose a solution (a timetable that, according to London’s current mayor, Boris Johnson, “dawdles when dash should be the order of the day“). Johnson has even gone so far as to set up his own examination (in fact recruiting Zaha Hadid) that will quickly provide potential proposals that can be shared with the government.

What do you think? Is three years a realistic timeframe to come up with a solution, as Burdett suggests? Or, as Johnson purports, is speed more important, with the situation reaching critical mass? Let us know in your comments below!

For more from Ricky Burdett, check out our interview with him: here . 

Previously published London airport proposals: Foster+PartnersZaha Hadid ArchitectsBeckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects.

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Demystifying the London Airport Conundrum with Ricky Burdett" 01 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=352047>

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