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Norman Foster founder Foster & Partners

Project: Droneport, Norman Foster Foundation


Norman Foster has unveiled a full scale prototype for a new Droneport to be used to deliver medical supplies and other essential equipment across Africa, and said that the vaulted brick structure could have multiple uses, including for leisure developers.

Launching the project at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Foster described the structure as a “high tech mud building”.

The Droneport, which is the first project to be presented by the Norman Foster Foundation, will support cargo drone routes, allowing drones to deliver equipment and medical supplies to remote areas of Africa on a massive scale. The Droneports will also act as community hubs, housing a range of facilities which could include markets, health clinics and post offices.

“The Droneport project is about doing more with less, capitalising on the recent advancements in drone technology – usually associated with war and hostilities – to make an immediate live-saving impact in Africa,” said Foster.

The vaulted brick Droneport building is conceived as a kind of kit, where the basic formwork and brick-press machinery is delivered to the site, and the raw materials are locally sourced, reducing costs and making it more sustainable. Foster told CLADmag the structures themselves could also have other uses.

“It would be as perfect for a resort as it would be for the most basic needs of humanity. I could imagine it being the most beautiful bedroom, with the most minimal of enclosures. At the same time in a rural setting of Africa or South America or parts of Asia it could provide the luxury of shelter for very poor communities.”

Foster + Parters are currently working on the Oceanwide Center in San Francisco, the Norton Museum of Art extension in Florida and a pavilion for the Dubai Expo 2020.

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