A special issue of AA: L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui dedicated to the self-supporting structure of compressed earth bricks examines the multiple layers where sustainability is embedded by leading architects and designers. Beyond the architectural form of the geometrical vault, the Droneport illustrates the advantages of interdisciplinary thinking to address the challenges of supplying medicines and other urgent aid to communities lacking adequate transport infrastructure.
“This skilled geometrical vault holds the promise of a brighter future”, writes Editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Borne in the latest “hors série” publication of the bilingual magazine L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (AA). It is dedicated to the Droneport project, the “successful attempt to harness the rapid improvements in technology for the benefit of the poorest”, as Edwin Heathcote, architecture and design critic of the Financial Times, puts it in his editorial. A prototype of the Droneport shell was realized at La Biennale di Venezia 2016 and highlighted the intention of Alejandro Aravena, curator of the 15th International Architecture exhibition, to understand how architects can marshal their skills to affect the wider world, bringing together architecture and activism.
The self-supporting structure of the Droneport clearly carries the mark of Lord Norman Foster – and so does the special issue of AA showing sketches, drawings and renderings contributed by the architect who is known for having built the largest airport of the world. “Norman, now come and build the smallest airport,” Jonathan Ledgard, Director of the Future Africa Initiative, recalls his initial attempt to get Foster enthused about the idea of creating a system of infrastructure to enable the use of drones to supply aid and other goods to remote communities in emerging countries. The AA special issue “The Droneport project” is a source of inspiration for design and building professionals on multifaceted approaches to sustainable construction.