Taking a first look at Heathrow’s new Terminal 2.

On a snowy Tuesday morning, Contract attended a presentation about Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, by Luis Vidal + Architects (LVA). Slated to open to the public on June 4, the £2.5 billion development replaces the old Terminal 2, dedicated by the Queen in 1955 and demolished after 54 years of service. The new 210,000-square-meter terminal will be home to 25 airlines and is expected to have 20 million passengers every year.

“Terminals today are the cathedrals of the 21st Century,” Luis Vidal said. “They are the main doorway to a nation.”  LVA has previously worked on the Madrid Barajas Airport and the Zaragoza Airport, both in Spain, and the new Warsaw International Airport, among others.

The undulating steel-framed roof of the new Terminal 2 faces north and allows for ample natural light. The building reduces CO2 emissions by 40 percent over the previous terminal.


The terminal was constructed using a modular system that allows for future expansions.


The 3-wave roof design represents the three parts of the passenger journey: check-in, security, and boarding. The building’s canopy features 1,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels.


The underside of the 50,000-square-meter roof is covered in a material that helps bounce natural light during the day. The glazed facade incorporates solar control glass and angled louvers.


A lighting control system reduces energy usage by switching lights off when daylight is bright enough, or when parts of the building are not in use.


Colors incorporated throughout the terminal contribute to wayfinding.


The terminal features 66 self-service kiosks, 60 fast bag-drops, and 56 traditional check-in desks. The check-in area will be large enough to accommodate 3,000 passengers an hour.


Artificial lighting comes from the same place that natural lighting would come from, allowing for a better transition between day and night for the passengers, Vidal said.


All photos © LHR Airports Limited. Visit photolibrary.heathrow.com.

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