The 65,000 owners of land proposed for London's Heathrow Airport expansion are seeking input from architects and designers to help building some type of fortress to defend the "Airplot" from police and bulldozers should the Government try to take the land by force.
After planting an orchard and taking other steps to improve the Airplot land--land that was purchased last year by Heathrow Airport expansion opponents and is now owned by some 65,000 people--Greenpeace is challenging architects and designers to help fortify the camp in case the Government decides to take it by force (See video below).
Now that the UK Government has officially thrown its support behind the expansion, activists are digging-in on the small parcel of land which sits in the middle of the proposed third runway. Greenpeace organizers say: "We want to see how we could fortify the Airplot so that, if the police and the bulldozers come to turf us out, we'll be able to physically block the construction of a new runway."
The structure will need to house activists for long periods of time and act as a place where the activists can live, work and communicate with the outside world. What kind of fortifications are they looking for exactly? Greenpeace says it could be a fortress, a tunnel, a tower, or just about anything else, as creativity is encouraged.
"We're looking for a structure that is immovable and allows local residents and seasoned environmental campaigners to peacefully block the diggers," says Greenpeace Executive Director, John Sauven. "It might be underground, it might be overground, it might be both, that's up to the panel of experienced judges from the worlds of architecture and activism to decide."
Oh, and there's one other requirement, says Greenpeace: "the structure needs to be able to protect the site from the police and from the bulldozers."
Critics of the proposed airport expansion say that in addition to the increased air traffic, noise, and CO2 emissions brought on by the new runway, the expansion would mean 700 homes, a church, and a school would be demolished or abandoned; a graveyard bulldozed; and that the entire village of Sipson could be wiped out.
Professor Neil Thomas, founder of the structural engineering consultancy Atelier One, and of the contest judges called it "one of the most fascinating design briefs ever put out to competition."
Personally, I like the idea of a moat to fortify the encampment, although it may not be all that effective at stopping a bulldozer.
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