Heathrow Airport T5 London, Terminal 5 England building images, UK air hub architect design

Heathrow Airport T5 London Architecture

London Airport building design by Richard Rogers with YRM Architects

post updated 31 March 2024

Architects: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners with YRM

Officially opened by HM Queen 14 Mar 2008

YRM Architects – the unsung design powerhouse behind T5

Terminal 5 Heathrow

8 Mar 2008

Terminal 5 Heathrow

Architects YRM have completed their work for British Airways on designs for Heathrow Terminal 5. When Terminal 5 (T5) opens on March 27, it will become not just the latest terminal to open at Heathrow but British Airways’ exclusive new home.

Terminal 5 has been created with the basic premise of making air travel easy through one of the world’s busiest airport hubs – London Heathrow. This has been achieved through close collaboration between BAA, British Airways and their integrated design teams including YRM in their role as British Airways’ sole architects since 1994.

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5
Crew Report area

YRM led the team that developed and delivered the Terminal 5 Campus Design Guide Guidelines for BAA and designed the suite of T5 ancillary buildings for both British Airways’ and BAA. YRM worked alongside Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, integrating the airline operational interface, passenger flow and British Airways’ requirements into the base build. As British Airways’ sole architect, YRM also designed all its demised areas including six major lounges, and integrated office and welfare areas.

The most noticeable innovation at T5 is YRM’s design for departures check-in with its flow through layout. The majority of passengers will use self-service check-in facilities or will be ready to fly having checked in online (via ba.com). The concourse is designed so that passengers flow through the check-in area in one direction towards the security search points using self service kiosks, fast bag drops or manned service counters as required. The concourse incorporates a special area of receiving first class passengers with a direct connection via fast track security screening into the airside lounges.

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 London
T5 Club Lounge entry

YRM are responsible for the design of approximately 30 buildings and structures at T5, including design and coordination of T5’s lounges and the necessary ‘back room’ operations and offices. YRM designed the six new lounges in conjunction with Davies+Baron, whose design concepts drew inspiration from luxury boutique hotels and private members’ clubs. Designed to satisfy the demands of premium passengers, and with stunning views over the airfield, the Concorde Lounge, First Class Lounge, three Club Lounges and an Arrivals Lounge will be capable of hosting up to 2,500 people, a 25% increase in capacity compared with current Terminal 1 and Terminal 4 lounges.

A groundbreaking addition to the Arrivals Lounge are YRM’s self contained, clean and comfortable Shower Pods, where travellers arriving at T5 can take refreshing showers whilst their clothes are pressed.

Improving and rethinking office space, work areas and accommodation of British Airways’ employees was crucial to the overall project. Many of the innovations to improve passenger experience depend on BA employees being able to work efficiently as a united, harmonious team. To foster a positive and cohesive working environment, YRM created light, spacious, open plan areas that facilitate communication and are a radical change from previous boxed up airport and airline staff accommodation. At their request, BAA’s own management have also been seamlessly accommodated. The finished result maintains the high design standards seen throughout T5 and achieves a vibrant, outwards looking and positive working environment.

Heathrow Airport T5
T5 Concorde Bar

John Clemow, managing director of YRM said:

‘As British Airways’ sole architects since 1994, YRM’s pivotal role in this major project was cemented when we were commissioned by BAA to form an integral part of the terminal building design team with Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, Chapman Taylor, HOK and Pascall & Watson. Our work in briefing and design led to the close collaboration between British Airways and BAA. This has resulted in the large number of innovations that will make travel through T5 a smoother, more efficient and glamorous experience for passengers.’

YRM’s experience in airport design, including Bristol International Airport and Gatwick Airport combined with their use of advanced computer animated design models has enabled the designers and the client body to understand and anticipate passenger flow through T5, a crucial element in making Terminal 5 a world class interchange.

The main terminal building
T5 is the biggest free standing building in the UK. The building is 40m high, 396m long and 176m wide. The single span wave roof held up by 22 huge steel legs and nodes, not only creates a great, light, open and airy space, but provides a distinctive architectural feature and fantastic views of the airfield.

The facades are fully glazed with over 30,000sq metres of glass or 5,500 glass panels. The facades lean out at an angle of 6.5 degrees, giving the building its distinct shape. The glass itself is coated with a film which controls the amount of sunlight entering the building. To further manage the temperature of the interior brise soleil panels have been fitted to the exterior. These are fixed aluminium louvres that act like sun shades, deflecting glare.

The interchange plaza
A plaza separates the multi-storey carpark from the main terminal. It is a unique design feature and space (30m wide and the length of the building) and will be landscaped with 40 mature plane trees, fountains, seating areas, artworks, even the possibility of extending some of the cafe areas outdoors when the weather permits.

Heathrow Terminal 5
T5 Concorde Bar

Underneath the north end of the plaza is the rail station. The station houses 6 platforms, two for the Heathrow Express, two for LU Piccadilly Line and two which are built and safeguarded in advance of a scheme to link Heathrow by rail to the West (AirTrack, a scheme under consideration would connect to the west with the main line at Staines.) The station is covered by a transparent roof (made from ETFE like the Eden Project biomes) which enable natural light to flood down onto the ends of the platforms. Five 50-person lifts will transport passengers straight up to the departures hall.

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 images from Caro Communications 8 Feb 2008

Terminal 5 Heathrow Airport Design Guide + ancillary buildings architect – YRM

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 architect – Richard Rogers

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5
Crew Report area

Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 : images from T5i – 12Feb 2008

Location: Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, London, England, UK

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