Who needs roads when you can fly? Norman Foster's latest project aims to support cargo drone routes that could deliver "urgent and precious supplies to remote areas on a massive scale." The scheme has significant potential in some of the barren heartland areas of Africa which are severely lacking in infrastructure, something that has proven a hindrance to the health and socio-economic well being of the region. Utilizing drones in such a way could change all that by connecting stranded communities and bringing valuable resources which are desperately needed. Unlike cars or trains, drones can easily (and cheaply) bypass the need to traverse across mountains, rivers, and lakes. Medical supplies are the main priority for Foster. He has teamed up with Afrotech, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); and the Norman Foster Foundation. Drones here have the potential to disperse a variety of life-saving packages within a range of over 60 miles. This would work by using two drone networks called the Redline and the Blueline. The Redline would carry smaller packages and would primarily be for emergency medical supplies. The Blueline would be more commercial and would be able to carry "larger payloads such as spare parts, electronics, and e-commerce." A drone port would be a new typology for Foster + Partners, adding to its growing list of aviation-based buildings that includes various airports and "lunar building studies conducted in association with the European Space Agency." The firm aims for the project's design to be very simplistic and able to be assembled by locals. The port could also be a manufacturing site for drones which would potentially give locals greater employment opportunities. To give some scale of the issue Foster wishes to address, currently "just a third of Africans live within two kilometers of an all-season road." With this in mind, Africa's population is set to double by 2050 and so a solution such as this will be necessary to cater for the growing demand of Africa's people. “Africa is a continent where the gap between the population and infrastructural growth is increasing exponentially," Foster said in a statement. "The dearth of terrestrial infrastructure has a direct impact on the ability to deliver life-giving supplies, indeed where something as basic as blood is not always available for timely treatment." With a pilot project set to be built by 2020 in Rwanda, "a country whose physical and social geography poses multiple challenges," the drone service hopes to send supplies to "44% of Rwanda." "Rwanda’s challenging geographical and social landscape makes it an ideal test-bed for the Droneport project," Foster said in a statement. "This project can have massive impact through the century and save lives immediately.”
Posts tagged with "Africa":
Jaklitsch / Gardner's beekeeping & honey extraction center in Tanzania is designed with the local community in mind
New York City–based Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects has unveiled renderings for the Mizengo Pinda Asali & Nyuki Sanctuary, a beekeeping and honey extraction center near Dodoma, Tanzania. The firm partnered with Follow the Honey, National Beekeeping Supplies, and Nyuki Safari Company to build a complex that supports the local beekeeping economy and serves as a cultural and educational anchor for the community. To foster collaboration and allow for future expansion at the site, the sanctuary complex is organized in a cellular pattern with a series of pavilions around garden courtyards. The pavilion structures are made of mud-fired bricks that are set into interwoven patterns meant to evoke local weaving traditions. The patterns change at each building based on their specific programmatic and ventilation needs. The bricks will be created on-site and with local labor. Metal roofs are lifted above the buildings to allow for natural ventilation throughout the sanctuary. “Our shared vision is that the design of this building will bring a sense of dignity to the enterprise—a place where modern equipment and techniques blend with traditional methods," said Mark Gardner, principal at Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, in a statement. "An increase in beekeeping education programs offers local farmers and tribal groups the knowledge and skills to become more independent and self-reliant, providing an opportunity to improve their quality of life." The sanctuary is slated to break ground later this year.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the nonprofit arbiter on tall building design, has named its 2014 picks for best tall buildings. Among the winners are a twisting tower in Dubai, Portland's greenest retrofit, and a veritable jungle of a high-rise. The four regional winners are: The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, USA (Americas); One Central Park, Sydney, Australia (Asia & Australia); De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Europe); and Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE (Middle East & Africa). Portland’s Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building is not a new building. Designed by SOM in 1974, the office tower used a pre-cast concrete façade that had begun to fail by the turn of the 21st century. Bainbridge Island, Washington-based Cutler Anderson Architects and local firm SERA modernized the 18-story, 512,474 square-foot structure that is now targeting LEED Platinum. One Central Park in Sydney uses hydroponics and heliostats to cultivate gardens and green walls throughout the tower, cooling the building and creating the world's tallest vertical garden. OMA’s De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands, and its form playfully morphs the glassy midcentury office high-rise in a way that’s part homage and part experimental deconstruction. In the Middle East, Dubai’s twisting Cayan Tower (formerly The Infinity Tower) is a 75-story luxury apartment building that turns 90 degrees over its 997-foot ascent. Remarked the CTBUH panel: “happening upon its dancing form in the skyline is like encountering a hula-hooper on a train full of gray flannel suits.” CTBUH will pick an overall “Best Tall Building Worldwide” winner at their 13th Annual Awards on November 6, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Their panel of judges includes Jeanne Gang, OMA’s David Gianotten, Laing O’Rourke’s David Scott, and Sir Terry Farrell, among others. OMA’s CCTV Tower in Beijing won last year’s competition. Most of the 88 contest entries were from Asia, CTBUH said, continuing that continent’s dominance of global supertall building construction. CTBUH's international conference will take place in Shanghai in September. You can find more about the 2014 CTBUH awards, including a full list of finalists, at their website.
Mikou Design Studio has unveiled the design for the Africanews headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo. Mikou proposed a large expressive tower on stilts during a competition for the site. The tower mass floats on massive pillars over a two-story podium with an interstitial patio between the pieces, topping out at 174 feet over the city. The new 83,000-square-foot headquarters building seeks to represent African heritage through its tonality and composition of solid and void patterning on the facade. The use of openwork concrete produces a visually porous building envelope while vertically mounted V-shaped sunshades create an additional layer to filter light and guard against heat gain. "We have conceived the Africanews Tower as a sculptural, elevating building, the bearer of an African poesy in its materiality, its tonalities and the interplay of relief and hollows which characterises the facades," the architects said on their website. "Its vertical proportion is accentuated by the facets of the envelope in relief and hollows, which stretch it upwards and give it a sculptural effect of depths of field and magical contrasts of light and shadow." The sunshade on the facade lends the appearance of folded metal panels to the building's exterior. The fins allow for more effective ventilation in the structure. An internal courtyard additionally promotes this air flow. Landscaping within this courtyard helps to create a healthier working environment for the building's inhabitants. The building will house newsrooms, offices, screening and conference rooms, and, on the roof, the concrete patterning expands to allow for better views of the city and nearby Congo River from a restaurant. The project is expected to be complete in 2015.
Apex: Tip Toland Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Avenue Portland, Oregon Through May 11 Washington-based artist Tip Toland creates larger than life figures with painfully accurate details that highlight her subjects’ imperfections: wrinkles, sunspots, and other blemishes. Toland’s work has always dealt with figurative subject matter, though her approach has ranged from the surreal to the super-real. This exhibition focuses on the plight of albino children in Africa, many of whom face a never-ending nightmare of bigoted, superstitious persecution at the hand of the communities into which they are born. Deeply rooted in psychology, Toland’s carefully crafted portraits seek to disturb viewers, teasing out their deepest human sympathies only to clobber them with the cudgel of political subtext. The artist has said that her work “softens our hearts to what we are afraid of.” Unflinching in the face of terrible realities, it is certainly provocative.
Migration melee. Migratory birds continue to fall victim to the glass facades comprising invisible and impenetrable forest of buildings in New York City. Bird advocacy groups and planning and building commissions are beginning to take notice. The New York Times investigated this ecologically sensitive dichotomy. Let there be light. MIT students and the MyShelter Foundation, a non-profit aimed at creating sustainable communities, have joined forces to light up the Phillipines. This capable collaboration has created an innovative way to bring light to notoriously dark cities outside of Manila. The result? The Solar Bulb. Core77 explained this simple and ingenious amalgamation of water, sealant, bleach and a plastic bottle. Road to Africa. While perhaps not on the immediate horizon, urban thinkers and This Big City are looking at Africa and its potential for economic development. With all of our hindsight in the world of urban planning, is it any wonder that we do not know where to begin? The photo says it all. Parking Paris. French and Swiss architecture outfits AWP and HHF have collaborated to out-design competitors and take home the privilege of creating all of the infrastructure buildings at Paris' Parc des Bords de Seine. DesignBoom looked at this series of low-cost, modular structures that will bring new residents to the park to eat, play, and watch birds from a second-story platform.
Of Sand and Stone. On September 8th, Milan-based architect Mario Cucinella will break ground on his One Airport Square project in Accra, Ghana's capital city. The 230,000 square foot structure of irregular cantilevered floor plates embraced by a web of diagonal concrete supports meant to evoke traditional African patterns. Plans call for a dynamic pedestrian plaza with shops and cafes topped with commercial space. Solar panels are integrated among cantilevered terraces with indigenous fauna to protect the building from the scorching sun.