Tuesday, March 04, 2008


The pictures of the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow are disturbing. This is not an architectural judgment. It's something to do with the feeling that such a thing is already outdated. Simon Jenkins explained the cock-ups that led to Heathrow becoming the dump that it is today. And it really is a dump. Dropping somebody off at Terminal 3 the other day, I felt I had stumbled into the gateway of some corrupt, poverty-stricken dictatorship that had, somehow, established itself just to the west of London without anybody noticing. It shouldn't be there at all and T5 only draws attention to that fact. But, as Jenkins says, in this as in so many other areas, New Labour likes nothing more than caving in to any and every demand of big business. On top of that, flying itself is beginning to feel outdated. Once it had an air of exclusivity and excitement, now it has an air of cramped misery. Security means that hours have to be spent in a tacky shopping mall prior to getting on a plane with bad air and no space for your legs. Then there's the environment...No doubt about it, flying is over. What we need are transoceanic maglevs in low pressure tunnels. T5 can become a 'venue', West London's answer to the Dome.


  1. Amen to that, brother! I think it was glamorous for one week, shortly after the war - but not in my lifetime.

  2. And Bryan, you in London are the lucky ones. Some have to use the place to transfer. Something that takes slightly less time than doing so from Croydon or Essex.

    Michael Winner uses Northolt, just a zip out the A40. Fellow miners at the Times coalface and all that. And a neighbour. ;)

  3. So, it's a Richard Rogers ''Creation'' (laugh)! I thought it had a touch of the Norman (I Can't Believe It's Not A Factory) Fosters about it. It's a lot of money to still have its guts on display - I suppose they call it being honest.

  4. I saw the Rogers terminal in Madrid. It's impressive in an engineering sense, but, stylistically, it's high tech turned bombastic. Just too much stuff and not enough architecture.

  5. Ian,
    we told that daft sod Norm, "Norm, we said...Nantucket clapboard is one thing...but the Reichstag ?"
    He didn`t listen, of course. look, he said, if Georgy Zhukov could do it then so can I.
    We all know the end result of course, there he is, back with Steve, refurbishing clapped out brownstones in NY