Foster’s Prototype for a Droneport

Margherita Olivo
May 29th 2016

Last year we talked about Norman Foster's project for a Droneport. Now a full-scale prototype has been presented at the latest Venice architecture Biennale. The works to build the world's first airport for drones will start this year in Rwanda. The Droneport will provide aid and support to inaccessible regions. By 2020, when the technology will improve, drones will be capable of lifting up to 20 pounds or more, covering distances of hundreds of kilometers throughout Africa.


Africa lacks of continental transportation networks, some areas are almost unreachable due to the absence of roads, railways or different systems. This could be an alternative way to connect the large amount of people living in remote areas of the continent. The Droneport, which will have a brick structure, will also host a clinic, a digital fabrication shop, a post and courier room, and an e-commerce trading hub. It will become an integral part of local community life. Drones will offer a valid, affordable alternative to car-driven deliveries, providing the same service in 1/12th of the time required by a regular SUV.

droneport in rwanda

The Droneport is conceived as a kit-of-parts. Only the basic framework and brick-press machinery will be brought to site. The raw materials needed to build it, such as clay and boulders, will be gathered locally, putting together different levels of the community and enabling them to enhance their construction knowledge.

droneport in rwanda

"Africa is a continent where the gap between the population and infrastructural growth is increasing exponentially" Norman Foster explains. "The dearth of terrestrial infrastructure has a direct impact on the ability to deliver life-giving supplies, indeed where something as basic as blood is not always available for timely treatment. We require immediate bold, radical solutions to address this issue. The droneport project is about doing ‘more with less’, capitalizing on the recent advancements in drone technology - something that is usually associated with war and hostilities - to make an immediate life-saving impact in Africa. Rwanda’s challenging geographical and social landscape makes it an ideal test-bed for the droneport project. This project can have massive impact through the century and save lives immediately".

droneport presented at venice biennale

Source and Images: Forster+Partners

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