Dezeen Magazine

DJI's headquarters designed by Foster + Partners will feature skybridge to showcase drones

Foster + Partners has integrated a skybridge into its design for a new headquarters for Shenzhen-based robotics company DJI, allowing it to show its latest drones.

The Foster + Partners-designed building, which is currently under construction, will operate as an innovation centre for DJI – a company specialising in producing "quadcopter" drones used for film and photography.

Its equipment is used widely by architectural photographers and filmmakers. British studio Hufton + Crow used a DJI drone with an in-built camera to shoot MAD's Huangshan Mountain Village, while YouTuber JCMinn used the company's technology to film Foster + Partners' then-under-construction Apple Campus in California.

The headquarters comprise a pair of towers made of stacked glass blocks with expressed steel trusses, which allow for column-free flight paths within.

The towers will house research and development spaces, alongside offices and public display areas – including a sky bridge that could be used to showcase the company's latest drone technology.

At ground level, an exhibition hall will be used for product launches and staff facilities including a gym and "robot-fighting rings" are located.

"Our aim is to create a unique workplace environment that embodies the spirit of invention and innovation that has allowed DJI to lead the world in robotics and technology," said Foster + Partners' head of studio Grant Brooker.

Drone technology is dramatically changing the built environment, according to architect Mark Dytham, who spoke to Dezeen about how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could completely alter how buildings designed in the future.

"In the future you'll experience architecture from drones," he said. "They will change the way architecture is perceived. We'll all see buildings from above. We'll cease to be ground-dwelling creatures; we'll see things in a vertical dimension."

Dezeen Studio extensively used DJI's quadcopters during the filming of its upcoming documentary on drones called ELEVATION.

The documentary produced by Dezeen Studio contains exclusive interviews with leading figures in the architecture and technology worlds including Foster + Partners, PriestmanGoode and Serpentine Galleries director Hans-Ulrich Obrist. It will be screened at the Venice Architecture Biennale later this month.

Foster + Partners, which came in at number 9 on the latest Dezeen Hot List, recently presented its vision for a high-speed freight carrying hyperloop and completed a new headquarters for the BBC in Cardiff, Wales.