A design concept for a new Uber Air Skyport imagined by award-winning architecture studio, Pickard Chilton, and global design and consulting firm, Arup, was showcased at Uber’s 3rd Elevate Summit this week in Washington, D.C., where Uber revealed new designs for its future Skyports.
The designs focus on Skyports for the near future, showcasing concepts for both parking structure retrofits as well as new bespoke facilities. These concepts represent the first fully considered and technically feasible Skyports for a 2023 commercial launch of Uber Air.
Along with Pickard Chilton + Arup, seven other firms also showcased concepts at Elevate. This year’s Skyports are designed to support busy, multi-modal operations facilitating both ground and air transport.
In addition to designing for aircraft operations (known as electric vertical and takeoff and landing, or ‘eVTOL’ vehicles), all the concepts also include space for electric bikes and scooters, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and a connection to public transit.
The Skyport Mobility Hubs are designed to integrate with their community, minimise noise, embrace sustainable materials and minimise energy use.
All the proposed concepts are envisioned in cities where Uber Air has announced plans to launch its service, including Dallas, Los Angeles and the first international location for Uber Elevate, Melbourne.
Building on the successful ‘Sky Tower’ design collaboration from last year’s Elevate Summit, Pickard Chilton + Arup were exclusively engaged by Uber to design the ‘Uber Sky Loft,’ for Melbourne.
The proposed initial network includes the retrofit of an existing parking structure in downtown Melbourne linked to a bespoke greenfield solution designed for the Melbourne airport. The team premiered their concept design for the Sky Loft at the 2018 Uber Elevate Summit.
Pickard Chilton Principal, Jon Pickard, FAIA, RIBA, explained that while delivering elegant and high-performance buildings, their designs for the two Sky Lofts create a compelling and seamless user experience.
“The designs are sensitive to and respectful of their context while the Sky Lofts themselves are stewards of earth’s limited resources. It has been exciting to collaborate with Uber and Arup to create the Sky Loft – a realistic vision for intra-urban transportation in Melbourne,” he said.
Pickard Chilton + Arup’s design is driven by their deep commitment to preserving and protecting the natural environment through sustainable design.
The Sky Loft concept is distinguished by its extensive use of a highly sustainable mass timber structure – easily sourced, renewable and manufactured off-site – to sequester tonnes of carbon while featuring the beauty of natural wood. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification would be targeted.
Located within a short walk to other public transportation options, the 3,700 square metre Sky Lofts facilitate eVTOL takeoff and landing, and host a Skyport lounge, facilities for JUMP bikes and scooters, as well as a retail experience unlike any other.