foster + partners: thames hub vision
foster + partners: thames hub vision foster + partners: thames hub vision
nov 03, 2011

foster + partners: thames hub vision


understanding the transportation challenges facing britain, london-based practice foster + partners, have collaborated with consulting firms halcrow (international) and volterra (UK) for a self-funded study producing the ‘thames hub vision’, a detailed report that uses scale and strategic cross-sector thinking to design an integrated infrastructure network. the masterplan proposes to replace the existing thames barrier with a new crossing that will extend london’s protection from floods into the 22nd century. it will mitigate the capital from rising storm levels, free up vital land for development and harness tidal power to generate carbon-free energy.

thames hub vision site plan of hub and networks image © foster + partners



building on existing transportation lines to the north, east and west of london ‘the hub’ will avoid future congestion into the city. an orbital rail system with a four-track, high-speed passenger and freight route will link london’s current radial lines, with a future high-speed rail line to the midlands and the north, the thames estuary ports, high speed 1, and european networks. by minimizing the developmental impact the environmental strategy aims to provides new wildlife habitats landscaped within the spine.

thames hub vision the spine connects UK’s existing ports and future rail networks image © foster + partners



the new estuary airport will be capable of handling 150 passengers a year, allowing the UK to retain its global aviation hub status. the airport is integrated within a logistics matrix that connects the surrounding ports by rail. exploiting railway construction allows for the bundling of utilities into a single corridor delivering the world’s first national smart distribution network. improving the connectivity between the north and south of england will open new trade advancement for the UK to europe.

thames hub vision new international rail station directly linked into the hub airport image © foster + partners



‘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.’ – lord foster, founder and chairman of foster + partner


see designboom’s previous article ‘the thames hub’

thames hub vision new thames barrier crossing integrating connection, protection and generation image © foster + partners

thames hub vision integrated utilities within the lines using landscaping in the tradition of the 18th century ha-ha image © foster + partners

integration of hydropower generators within the new flood barrierimage © foster + partners

thames hub vision ports and freight routes via orbital rail and logistics matriximage © foster + partners

thames hub vision infrastructure network that runs from north to south image © foster + partners

thames hub vision main components of the thames hub image © foster + partners

new london orbital rail linking high speed and radial rail routes image © foster + partners

existing and proposed flood protected landimage © foster + partners

proposed hub airport and ground accessimage © foster + partners

video © foster + partners

  • “estuary” doesn’t sound good

    bmo says:
  • it’s more democratic than the space airport ! Good work, and good vision !

    sylvbouy says:
  • BIG loop (around) city?

    kh says:
  • If there is something which the world cannot take from Sir Norman Foster is Architectural creativity. Foster + Partners never cease to amaze with Architectural icons which will stay with us for eternity. In my opinion, Foster + Partners will continue to lead the way. Once in a while, there are times when their designs are not real Foster + Partners, but somehow they regroup. Thank you for this publication and thank you to the World’s Greatest Architect and those who work under him.
    (STMudehwe-ex Harvey Bufé Partnership,Chatered Architects)
    [url=] designboom [/url]

    Samuel Tendai Mudehwe says:
  • great idea
    brave bold and necessary for the future of the country
    well done norman

    theartelproject says:
  • The logo could be better 😛

    lmv says:
  • it’s good to see someone’s thinking big, forward & clearly, while knowing the details won’t be ignored.
    just wondering though if there’s room for the estuary airport to expand?

    explorer says:

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