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Uber Air unveils designs for first global skyports

This design concept for a new Uber Air Skyport was created by Pickard Chilton and Arup and showcased at Uber’s summit in Washington, D.C.

A design concept for a new Uber Air Skyport imagined by Pickard Chilton and Arup was showcased at Uber’s third Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C., where Uber revealed new designs for its future Skyports.

The architecture studio best known for its corporate headquarters designs and global design and consulting firm focused on Skyports for the near future, showcasing concepts for both parking structure retrofits as well as new bespoke facilities.

The concepts represent the first fully considered and technically feasible Skyports for a 2023 commercial launch of Uber Air.

Along with Pickard Chilton and 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, EV charging infrastructure, and a connection to public transit.

The Skyport Mobility Hubs are designed to integrate with the community, minimize noise, embrace sustainable materials and minimize 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 Melbourne, Australia, the first international location for Elevate. 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 greenfield solution designed for the Melbourne airport. The team premiered their concept design for the Sky Loft at the 2018 Uber Elevate Summit.

“While delivering elegant and high-performance buildings, our 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,” said Pickard Chilton principal Jon Pickard, FAIA, RIBA.

Pickard Chilton + Arup’s design is driven by their commitment to preserving and protecting the natural environment through sustainable design.

The Sky Loft uses sustainable mass timber structure – easily sourced, renewable and manufactured off-site – to sequester tons of carbon while featuring the beauty of natural wood. Located within a short walk to other public transportation options, the 40,000 gsf Sky Lofts facilitate eVTOL takeoff and landing, and host a Skyport lounge, facilities for JUMP bikes and scooters, and a retail experience.

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