Now open for entries, the 8th Annual A+Awards is celebrating the Future of Architecture, giving global recognition to forward-thinking designers forging new solutions for our evolving world. Enter the A+Awards now to be considered for upcoming coverage.
2018 A+Awards Firm of the Year MVRDV is collaborating with Airbus Urban Mobility, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, ETH Zurich and Systra to envisage the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The investigation is particularly focused on the implementation of self-piloted, zero-emission, electric air vehicles at the urban level, and their potential impacts and benefits for cities. They are exploring strategic urban development scenarios that leverage UAM as an opportunity to grow cities around the globe, creating thriving urban regions.
As part of the study, MVRDV has produced a series of compelling renderings showing how flying vehicles could arrive at “vertiports” or vertical airports, landing on lofty cantilevered platforms protruding from skyscrapers.
The collaborative research project attempts to answer questions regarding the protocols that need to be established with authorities to guarantee the safe and harmonious integration of flying vehicles, and how UAM technology can be leveraged to improve cities for all. By analyzing short and long-term scenarios, they aimed to recognize and mitigate the detrimental impacts that come from the introduction of new transportation modes in cities.
According to MVRDV, the research “…highlights how, when implemented with urban principles in mind, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) can reconnect territories with minimal impact, and deliver a multi-modal system that is accessible to, and beneficial for, people of all backgrounds.” In order to achieve this, it is vital to develop infrastructure solutions that seamlessly integrate UAM into the existing transport network.
One such solution the researchers identified is the development of the aforementioned “vertiports”, landing hubs that integrate the aerial network with the existing and future ground transportation system. According to MVRDV, vertiports can come in all types and sizes, but unlike stations for traditional transport methods, they do not require tracks, tunnels or roads to connect. This saves energy, natural resources and land, allowing designers to adapt the vertiports to a variety of different locations.
It is also believed that vertiports can serve as catalysts for urban improvement. “In locations that are underdeveloped, vertiports can be designed as opportunity hubs with educational and healthcare facilities or business incubators,” explained the architects. “In areas fractured by infrastructure such as roads, a vertiport can serve as a bridge connecting neighborhoods.” They assert that vertiports can also act as hubs of renewable energy, data and public amenities.
MVRDV’s research recognizes that UAM does not seek to replace cities’ existing transport infrastructure. It instead looks to demonstrate the principles of transit-oriented development that works to serve local surroundings and build more sustainable and efficient networks. The short-term business case for UAM, according to MVRDV, is for it to act as a service that connects major transportation hubs such as airports with business centers. Once the technology is well established, it could expand as a contributor to rail or road infrastructure.
Based on this study, it is apparent the creation of a “three-dimensional city” through UAM could have profound, positive impacts on urban centers. Vertiports have the potential to be more flexible and inexpensive compared to traditional transport infrastructure, allowing them to better connect and serve disadvantaged areas of cities along with rural areas. MVRDV and Airbus Urban Mobility have made it a priority to find the intersection between new technology and accessibility. Creating improved transportation networks and stronger connections that simultaneously serve local communities are responsible and appropriate actions to take in order to sustainably grow with our cities.
This type of initiative is what the 8th Annual A+Awards, currently open for entries, is all about. Under the theme, “The Future of Architecture”, use MVRDV’s “Vertiport” as inspiration a submission to this year’s Transportation categories. This is your chance to give your most innovative project — whether built or unbuilt — the spotlight it deserves. Enter before the Final Entry Deadline on March 27th to be in the running.
All images courtesy of MVRDV