One year ago, just as the government announced that it was pushing ahead with plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, Greenpeace unveiling the 'Airplot' - a small but significant piece of land on the site of the proposed runway. Its aim was to create a legal block, because 66,515 supporters as of today (including yours truly) have signed up to be beneficial owners of the plot.
The Airplot has become a focus for cultural resistance, with artists, actors, and even the poet laureate down on the site, helping to create allotments, orchards, raised beds and herb gardens on the land - resources for the community which will still be producing food and fruit when the plans for the third runway are long gone.
Yet one year on the government is still determined to go ahead with the runway. And so Greenpeace has announced their intention to build something a little more solid - a structure, a fortress, call it what you will - which will help protect the Airplot site. They are now running one open public competition to find the best ideas for fortifying the site and a separate one specifically for architects and architecture students, to design the fortifications. They say:
Whatever we build, the structure needs to be able to protect the site from the police, as well as the bulldozers. It will need to house several activists for days, weeks or even months. So it needs places to sleep, a place to cook, maybe even a vegetable patch. We'll also need somewhere we can work, see what's going on outside and talk to the rest of the world about why we're there. And it goes without saying that it has to be as green and zero carbon as possible.Judges include the architects Peter Clegg and Martha Schwartz, engineer Neil Thomas, the artist Rachel Whiteread, Greenpeace UK's Campaigns Director Sarah North, environmental activist Oli Rodker and comedian and Airplot co-owner Alistair McGowan. The closing date for all entries is 5.30pm on Friday 23 April 2010.