George Bradford-Smith Y4
Dirty Green Belt. Pollution levels are set to increase in an already critically contaminated location as the government gives the green light to Heathrow’s third runway, nearly doubling the number of aircraft within an area that already exceeds EU pollution limits. To exacerbate matters further a cross party parliamentary environmental report outlined that the government did not demonstrate a method of expanding the airport without continuing to exceed pollution levels. One of the primary causes of pollution is aircraft take off, when an aircraft thrust is at its peak, emitting the highest range of noise frequencies and largest concentration of pollutants breathable at ground level. Heathrow Airport’s intention is to provide local villages with financial compensation, without addressing the ever-increasing amount of pollution emitted, thousands of people will continue to be exposed to a wide range of potential long-term health problems.
The scheme focuses on one village west of the southern runway, which is exposed to extremely high volumes of aircraft. The Stanwell Moor site is used as a test case for future hotels located in close proximity to airports. The project takes an alternative approach to the environment close to Britain’s busiest airport. It alters Heathrow’s guests’ pessimistic perception of pollution through a number of design elements that use cleaning facilities that both contribute to their hotel experience and reduce local people’s exposure to pollutants.
Key hotel spaces respond to aircraft flight in a variety of ways. Beginning in the foyer, polluted water is filtered it over limestone façades to accentuate erosion. This produces a physical effect that advertises pollution levels in a literal way. A play area uses oscillating aluminium panels that naturally resonate with aircraft frequencies to alter light conditions. A swimming pool that creates a doppler effect on the pool surface, translating a loud noise into a calm motion, a relaxation space, filtering the harsh aircraft noise into a softer, calmer rumble. By embracing the overpassing aircraft the scheme is able to metamorphose the site’s environmental exposure into a positive hotel encounter.