The Challenge The new Heathrow Terminal 2 Forecourt and Carpark is the primary approach for departing passengers to the new terminal, and for visitors arriving at Heathrow from abroad, this public space also represents a first impression of the UK. Therefore it was essential that it incorporated an aspirational and high quality design and image. This intricate system of routes between the London Underground, the Heathrow Express, multiple vehicular and bus drop-offs created a complex wayfinding challenge, with a time-critical component for users to orient and navigate toward their flight or onward transport. A clear and simple wayfinding strategy was therefore paramount for the client, BAA.
The Insight Through detailed mapping and user journey visualisations of movement routes and dwell-points, we determined early on the locations in the architectural design where bottlenecks and points of confusion would arise. Research into the distance people stand while reading signage and how U-turns affect orientation played a part in designing mitigating design measures. Signage was sized to be read from a distance where passengers could 'pre-sort', avoiding congestion at decision points. A strict hierarchy of information prioritised time-sensitive information over amenities.The signal colours of black on yellow were used to pop-out from the neutral palette of the architecture and landscape.
The Solution The wayfinding and signage design provides highly visible and legible information against a dramatic background of the Slipstream artwork by the acclaimed artist Richard Wilson. Material specifications balance high aesthetic standards with exceptional durability and functionality for a highly trafficked piece of infrastructure. The Queen's Terminal, as it came to be named, has been built to a world class standard, incorporating principles of universal design into a pedestrian priority public space and infrastructural project.