In 2010 Futurecity developed a cultural strategy that proposed Heathrow become a cultural gateway to London. Sarah Tze, Richard Wilson, Tatsuo Miyajima, Cerith Wyn Evans and Sarah Morris were invited to propose an intervention for the new terminal in the Covered Court, a space similar in size to the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.
Wilson’s winning proposal, Slipstream, for an ‘uninterrupted stream or slipstream’ follows the imagined flight path of the ‘Edge 540’ an advanced aerobatics aircraft. His design uses cutting-edge computer programming technology to translate the volume of an aircraft’s movement through space. 78-metres of riveted aluminium soar through the four support columns under the undulating waves of the roof.
Slipstream rises 10-metres diagonally along the length of the terminal, allowing the 20 million passengers per annum who enter the Covered Court within touching distance of its body. At its highest point, the abstraction of the sculpture becomes figurative, revealing the profile of the plane’s wing tips and canopy.