Studio 8 - Airport City
About the show
With its runway on the water, London City Airport was a potent symbol of the business-led docklands redevelopment of the 1980s. However, travellers commuting between the financial centres of Europe must pass through the London Borough of Newham; one of the most diverse and one of the most deprived areas in the UK, with 144 first languages spoken in schools and high levels of poverty and unemployment.
This year, as debate has raged daily over the economic benefits and environmental costs of air travel, we have navigated between the neoliberal ‘aerotropolis’ agenda and first-world fantasies of agrarian retreat, to explore the potential for global exchange to benefit the people of Newham.
We investigated the disjointed and neglected residential and industrial surroundings of the airport; first through drawing and photography, then through a proposal for a temporary exhibition hall. We collaborated with graphic design students in Leipzig on five display systems testing generic and specific approaches to exhibition design. We studied parallel and contrasting conditions in the post-industrial landscapes of the Ruhr Valley and the large-span spaces of the public buildings of Berlin and Cologne.
Each student has developed a final proposal as an optimistic first element in a progressive and critical masterplan. Interventions at different scales integrate shared spaces and bold and complex public programmes with the airport in the unique landscape and social context of the Royal Docks.
Danishka Dias Sumanasekera
Jean-Marc Don Mello
Luke La Thangue