Thames Hub would keep Britain relevant for only $80 billion

Upscale accents aside, Britain is apparently at risk for being rendered, um, impotent by the rest of the EU. Or that's what Lord Foster, an actual Lord and the guy in charge of design firm Foster + Partners, thinks. His solution? A $80 billion artificial island, airport, rail hub, tidal barrier, power plant and "utility spine" just south of London.

The idea of constructing an airport in a river might sound fairly crazy, but Foster + Partners has already done this type of thing in the form of Hong Kong International Airport, which was constructed on an artificial island four square miles in size in the South China Sea. The Thames Hub airport would be similar, except it would also include a multi-level subterranean railway station that connects with London and the Chunnel (and the rest of Europe) while providing a foundation for the next generation of British high-speed rail.

Extending out from the airport across the mouth of the Thames would be a combination tidal barrier (to protect London from flooding and global warming) and a power generator, harvesting tidal energy from the Moon. The entire project is estimated to cost $80 billion, which means that it'll probably cost something more like $160 billion, and realistically, who knows if it'll ever even get started, much less finished. As Lord Foster would have you believe, however, Britain doesn't have a choice in the matter:

"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. If we don't then we are denying future generations to come. We are rolling over and saying we are no longer competitive — and this is a competitive world. So I do not believe we have a choice."

Well, okay then. The Lord hath spoken: Britain is getting a beefy new airport, and you can see what it'll look like in the gallery below.

Thames Hub, via Gizmodo

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