Venecia, Italia

Drones for Africa

The Norman Foster Foundation

Innovation - 05.10.2016

Crear una red de hangares para drones en África

A droneport project for Africa with an initial plan for three buildings to be completed by 2020, and a larger network so that every small town in Africa can have its own droneport by 2030: this is the ambition of the first project of the foundation created by Norman Foster and recently established in Madrid. The EPFL approached Foster with the concept because of his combination of airport design experience and knowledge of flight as a pilot of sailplanes, helicopters, and aircraft. The Droneport is devised as a ‘kit-of-parts’ including the basic formwork and brick-press machinery. Built by the communities, the raw materials are locally sourced, reducing transport costs and making it more sustainable. Combining the latest drone technology with traditional vault construction, the Norman Foster Foundation proposes building a network of droneports to deliver medical supplies and other necessities to areas of Africa that are difficult to access due to a lack of infrastructure. The pilot project is based in Rwanda. The structures rest on four stone bases and are built using two layers of brick. The elements are modular, so multiple vaults can also link together to form flexible spaces based on demand and needs.

©Norman Foster Concept Scketch
©Norman Foster Concept Scketch

At the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale the Norman Foster Foundation built a Droneport Prototype for which it has manufactured a highly resistant type of block termed ‘Durabric.’

©Nigel Young and The Norman Foster Foundation
©Nigel Young and The Norman Foster Foundation
The Norman Foster Foundation
Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, Lausanne EPFL: Future Africa, Blue Line, Red Line, Jonathan Ledgard, Lorenz Meier (ETH) ODB Engineering: John Ochsendorf (Cambridge, USA), Matthew Dejong (Cambridge, UK), Philippe Block (Zurich), Giorgia Giardina
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich ETH: Block Research Group, Philippe Block, Tom van Mele, Hannes Hofmann, Tomás Méndez Echenagucía, Noelle Pavison
Polytechnic University, Madrid: Santiago Huerta Fernández, Esther Redondo, Paula Fuentes, Ignacio J. Gil; Construction Team: Carlos Martín, Sixto Cordero, Luisel Zayas
Construction Team Venice: Carlos Martín Jiménez, Segundo Víctor Simba, Luis Alfonso Tituania Male, Sixto Cordero (MIT), Luisel Zayas (MIT)
LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, Zurich: LafargeHolcim Research Centre (Lyon)
Airbus Group: Olafur Eliasson (Berlin), Little Sun
Foster + Partners, London and Madrid: Norman Foster, Narinder Sagoo, Roger Ridsdill Smith, Emma Gibb, Tom Budd, Tom Cubitt, Andy Coward, Jonathan Cox, Taba Rasti