To make bold, sweeping changes, sometimes you need to implement a massive plan. Foster + Partners, in collaboration with Halcrow and Volterra, have unveiled a vision for Britain that completely re-imagines transportation and energy infrastructure. The study proposes a giant spine running the length of the UK which combines rail, energy, communications and data. A new hub, located on the Thames, will create a river barrier and crossing, an international airport, a tidal power plant, and a shipping and high speed rail complex. It is only in dreaming big that we can begin to overhaul our inefficient systems and transport ourselves into the future, and this plan is one way to get there.
Foster + Partners begins with the premise that Britain is operating with inadequate and aged infrastructure, which is hindering the country’s ability for trade and weakening the economy. To move forward and remain a major player in the global market, the island nation needs to update its transportation and energy infrastructure with more efficient and faster technology. The plan calls for an expanded spine throughout the UK with updated connections to the rest of Europe. The spine will allow for high speed rail throughout and will integrate power lines and communication and data lines.
The anchor for this bold new vision is the Thames Hub located on the very edge of the Thames River as it meets the North Sea. This massive complex will act as a river barrier and improve flood control throughout the country. There will also be a new international airport, as well as a shipping and rail complex, which will help expedite and improve efficiencies in the import and export of goods. A tidal power plant will be installed in the Thames to generate power from the rise and fall of the tides. Beyond the physical improvements, the new hub and network will create jobs across the country, improve the balance of trade between the north and south, and maximize trade links between the UK and the rest of the world.
Lord Foster, founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, said: “If we are to establish a modern transport and energy infrastructure in Britain for this century and beyond, we need to recapture the foresight and political courage of our 19th century forebears and draw on our traditions of engineering, design and landscape. If we don’t then we are denying future generations to come. We are rolling over and saying we are no longer competitive – and this is a competitive world. So I do not believe we have a choice.”
Images © Foster + Partners