A droneport set for construction in 2016 by London firm Foster + Partners will seek to bring medical supplies and commercial items to remote areas of Rwanda. In addition to being a pilot project in using drones to deliver lifesaving materials to people without access to them, the port will also be comprised of domes built with locally-sourced brick.
ArchDaily states the firm has previously worked on other experimental projects, such as proposals for buildings located on the moon and the spaceport in New Mexico. That prior experience was important for the droneport, according to the firm.
Just as the structures designed for the moon use a minimal inflatable framework and 3-D printed lunar soil, the Droneport is imagined as a ‘kit-of-parts’ where only the basic formwork and brick-press machinery is delivered to site, and the raw materials, such as clay for bricks and boulders for the foundation, are locally sourced, reducing material transport costs and making it more sustainable. The central idea is to ‘do more with less’ and the vaulted brick structure with a minimal ground footprint, can easily be put together by the local communities. Multiple vaults can also link together to form flexible spaces based on demand and needs of the particular place, and the evolution of drone technology. The Droneports will also be manufacturing centres for drones, generating employment opportunities for the local population. By giving the local people the construction knowledge, the project seeks to leave a legacy that will initiate a change that is bigger than the building itself.
The project is in partnership with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)and Redline, the company that developed the drone. The port should be completed by 2020 and will fly drones with a 3-meter wingspan at first. Redline plans to introduce drones with a 6-meter wingspan in the future.
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