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 It's something to do with the feeling that such a thing is already outdated.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 On top of that, flying itself is beginning to feel outdated.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.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:58 am