The Uber Air Skyports are designed as "fully considered and technically feasible" buildings that give an idea of the structures the taxi company aims to build ahead of the commercial launch of Uber Air – its app-based flying taxi service – in 2023.'
"With the first launch of Uber Air just a few short years away, this collection of Skyport Mobility Hub concepts establish a practical, sustainable vision for the infrastructure needed in the communities we plan to serve," said John Badalamenti, head of design for advanced programmes at Uber.
The concepts have been envisioned for Dallas, Los Angeles and Melbourne – all cities where Uber has already announced it will be launching its aerial taxi service.
Each of the concepts is designed to support both its current ground-based fleet of taxis and future aerial transport. Last year Uber released a drone-like prototype for an aerial passenger vehicle that it intends to bring into operation by 2023.
The proposals all include space for electric bikes and scooters, charging points and spaces for electric vehicles, and public transport connections.
"These designs represent a synergy of purpose, orchestrating a seamless transition between ground transit like Uber Pool and eVTOL [electric vertical take-off and landing] aircraft on the roof tarmac – all while contributing to the surrounding neighbourhood," explained Badalamenti.
The designs were revealed at Uber's annual Elevate Summit. A first set of concepts depicting the future air-taxi hubs, including a giant cylindrical tower and stacked landing pods, were shown at last year's summit.
Drones and flying vehicles are increasingly being integrated into cities. Dezeen's documentary Elevation explores how Drones will transform the ways that people and goods are moved around our cities.
Video flythroughs of all eight Uber proposals are below:
Arc, Los Angeles, USA, by SHoP Architects
"To celebrate Uber's vision of our shared transportation future, we shaped the architecture around the experience of boarding and takeoff, that bold first step into the future of urban flight," said Shannon Han, project director at SHoP Architects.
"Whether it's the first time or the fiftieth, walking on to the pad, under the arc of the wing-like roof, each rider's experience will be dramatically heightened. The balance of the design is intended to effortlessly support the immediacy of that moment."
Sky Loft, Melbourne, Australia, by Pickard Chilton and Arup
"While delivering an elegant and high-performance building, our design for the Sky Loft creates 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," said Jon Pickard, principal at Pickard Chilton.
Cityspace, Los Angeles, USA, by Gensler
"Uber is more than a transportation company; they are pioneering an aerial ride-sharing experience accessible to everyone where they live, work and play. These fast approaching changes taking place in urban areas are accelerating dramatic changes in the built environment of cities," said Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO of Gensler.
"Gensler's mission is to create a better world through the power of design, and our Skyports offer an opportunity to shape our cities for tomorrow while creating a more human experience today."
Connect | Evolve, Dallas, USA, by Corgan
"In prioritising feasibility, Corgan saw that mass adoption of this emerging modality would require evolving traditional notions of connectivity," said John Trupiano, principal at Corgan.
"A scalable design that seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure and considers its environmental impact, our design is comprised of a kit of parts that can be customised for a variety of budgets and locations—adding popular amenities and creating a lifestyle of aerial mobility and connectivity."
SkyPark, Los Angeles, USA, by Mithun
"Uber SkyPark elevates the urban transportation experience, enriching lives at the personal, neighbourhood and community scales," said Jason Steiner, partner at Mithun.
"By raising eVTOL functions, the Greenlight Hub, eBike and eScooter maintenance and charging spaces above grade, a new urban park with restorative landscape and active street life is created at the ground level. The park and its trees absorb noise, filter pollution and mitigate urban heat island effect while providing vibrant recreation and social spaces for the community."
Volary, Dallas, USA, by Humphreys & Partners Architects
"Our approach in designing an on-demand aerial ride-sharing terminal is based on the idea that 'less is more'. This idea has motivated us to create a highly intuitive experience for passengers, integrated within a structure that is simple to build and operate while reinforcing Uber's brand identity," said Walter Hughes, chief innovation officer at Humphrey & Partners.
"Volary is inclusive of new technologies and made of natural, organic materials for a highly sustainable building resulting in a zero net energy footprint."
Dallas Skyport, Dallas, USA, by Beck Group
"As a design-build firm that is beginning to fabricate building components at Factory Blue, we are uniquely positioned to solve the challenging question of how you add on to an existing parking structure," said Timothy Shippey, associate principal at The Beck Group.
"The design and fabrication of modular elements in our Dallas Skyport deliver a concept that aligns with Uber's innovative vision and is within budget."
Urban Re-Vision, Dallas, USA, by BOKA Powell
"The Uber Skyport Mobility Hub as imagined by BOKA Powell Architects celebrates our evolving experience-driven society by designing fluidity and transparency into the process of air travel re-imagined," said R Andrew Bennett, principal-in-charge at BOKA Powell.
"The integration of all Uber brands substantiates first and last mile travel as major support elements to the Uber Air component that revolutionises urban mobility. The Mobility Hub is not a thing, but rather a place of dynamic energy and integrated connectivity that celebrates the spirit of flight and the freedom to quickly access the important places in one's life."