Unmanned Portal

Drone hydroponics and delivery operation at the Mississippi Riverfront in St. Louis

Academic project
Washington University in St. Louis
arch 411 / Fall 2019
Instructed by Gia Daskalakis

Science fiction is merging with reality as society becomes increasingly dependent on unmanned technology. Autonomous technologies, such as artificial intelligence taking form in the bodies of robots and drones, will continue to physically and pyschologically detach humans' consumer role from backend production processes.

In this project, multifunctional drones carry out food production in a vertical hydroponics farm. The vertical farm takes over an abandoned warehouse, an emblematic scar of the industrial revolution. In the basement, the goods are packaged. Pre-programmed flocks of delivery drones exit a large portal in shifts to delivery to addresses in the city or the market on site. Connectivity is enabled via wide, gently-sloping pathways that join the greenway, Archgrounds, Mississippi River, and vertical farm.

Drone operations in the production stage are mostly performed out of human sight, while drone operations in the output stage become visual spectacles, a representation of a societal, subconscious dissonance between mass production and convenience.