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Foster and Aston Martin, together for the new Routemaster
December 23, 2008
One of the best-known symbols of modern London, the famous double-decker red bus Routemaster evolves and projects itself into the future.
The competition for the design of the new bus, announced by the Greater London Authority, has been won by a team made up of two other icons of the British world: Foster + Partners architecture and design firm and Aston Martin automobile manufacturer, the mythical auto of Agent 007.
The collaboration between Foster and Aston Martin has produced a vehicle which, though conceived for the streets of London, is proposed as a new standard for urban public service, and intends to offer the comfort of an auto and the liveability of a building, with wooden floors and leather seats.
It indeed devotes utmost attention to safety, in particular to driver total visibility, and the complete control of the vehicle via monitor and radio connection with headquarters. The bus will be particularly environmentally sensitive: zero emissions ready, equipped with solar cell panels on the glass roof to produce energy and, naturally, completely accessible by the mobility impaired.
The bus design also re-introduces the rear open access platform whose suppression in the latest models had aroused much disapproval among people.
We’ll see it in service as of 2011.
Lord Foster said: “This project has really captured my imagination. London’s buses are so much a part of the essence of this city – functionally, symbolically and geographically. They help us draw a mental map – their destinations are London’s historic places, often green: Shepherds Bush, Islington Green, Hampstead Heath, Green Park. Our design seeks to combine contemporary innovation with timelessness. Like the original Routemaster – which was ahead of its time and consequently endured – a new bus for London should establish a whole new travel experience that espouses 21st century aspirations, while celebrating the memory and the experience of the original.”
 
 
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