In the not-too-distant future, the skies will be filled with drones. One design team already has an idea for how to prepare for that day with a skyscraper designed to give drones a place to dock and charge.
Designers Hadeel Ayed Mohammad, Yifeng Zhao and Chengda Zhu created a proposal for a building they call the Hive. The towering structure would sit in the center of Manhattan and act as a centralized location for drone pilots to touch down between flights.
The second place finisher in eVolo’s annual Skyscraper Competition, the Hive fits into a world where drones are commonplace, both for the average person and for corporations who tap the human-free fliers to provide autonomous deliveries.
According to the designers, the Hive would be capable of housing nine different types of drones, categorized by the shape and scale of their landing fixtures. Drones dock to the building horizontally, locked into place once on the landing surface.
When drones are occupying the building, the Hive would be able to be flipped into a vertical position to align parallel with the tower’s façade. The building would also animate itself, rotating platforms back and forth to account for the ever-changing weight of the unmanned aircraft attaching to it.
“The overall organization of the façade uses layering as means to maximize surface area, with two overlapping exterior layers and an inner layer,” the designers explained. The building would establish a hierarchy based on the size of drones, sending the smaller ones to the inner portion to create more intricate interior that can be accessed by the smallest drones through an opening in the exterior layer.
Of course, the Hive is never going to be built—especially not in downtown Manhattan, in the spot where the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere is set to be constructed. But it’s an interesting bit of imagining as to what the future might bring.