façade area

heathrow airport, terminal 3

Terminal 3 has undergone substantial refurbishment within the scope of the wide-ranging new-build and conversion projects at London’s premier airport. A new main façade has extended the former entrance lobby and a separate VIP centre with its own entrances has been built. “Architectural steelwork” has been created under the leadership of Lord Norman Foster: seamlessly welded, keen-edged steel sections, bolts and fixings are all either flush or concealed.

  • Countless custom constructional solutions and at the same time an extremely tight timetable were the main demands that seele was asked to comply with. Passive safety of the components in the event of a bomb attack was another important requirement. Much of the work concerned the new façade in front of the existing terminal building. With 20m high columns, it forms an impressive entrance to the new terminal. The insulating glass units fabricated for the large-format façade grid resulted in pane weights of almost 500kg. However, they still appear to be “lightweights” owing to their invisible fixings and flush design.

    The same is true for the bridges inside the terminal. Fully glazed walking surfaces and stringers convey the impression of weightlessness desired by the architect. Concealed bolts fix the glass balustrades to the steel stringers. Prior to laminating, countersunk-head bolts were inserted through the inner panes and subsequently laminated into the glass configuration. Ceramic screen printing on the outside conceals the steel stringers and the heads of the bolts perfectly – full-service planning right down to the last detail.

    The VIP centre located behind the terminal also complies with the challenging architectural brief. VIP guests are driven up to the higher reception level via a spacious ramp. Large areas of glazing and slender posts constitute the architectural branding in this instance. Revolving and side-hung doors integrated smoothly into the all-glass design are also part of seele’s contribution.

    Project images: © LHR Airports Limited


Client BAA plc.
Architect Foster + Partners
Structural planning Buro Happold, London
Date of completion 2007
Scope of seele supply
  • Extension building: approx. 2,700sqm blast resistant glass façade, approx. 280sqm lift structure, main entrance door, etc.
  • Annexe Building: approx. 420sqm internal faceted façade, circular sliding door, frameless glass door
  • Terminal forecourt: approx. 420sqm external façade, lift structure and roofglazing