Drone hydroponics and delivery operation at the Mississippi Riverfront in St. Louis
Academic project Washington University in St. Louis
ARCH 411 / Fall 2019
Critic: Gia Daskalakis
Science fiction is merging with reality as society becomes increasingly dependent on unmanned technology.
Autonomous technologies taking form in the bodies of robots and drones will continue to physically and pyschologically detach humans' consumer role from backend production processes.
Unammned Portal envisions a transformation of a bleak, polluted post-industrial landscape at the edge of the Mississippi River into a new industry in the face of the new technological frontier in urban development.
The program is a hybrid between a new productive industry and a public park. Multifunctional drones carry out food production in a vertical hydroponics farm retrofitted within an abandoned warehouse, an emblematic scar of the industry and railroad that once boomed along the Mississippi.
Pre-programmed flocks of delivery drones exit a large portal from the warehouse basement. The portal is centered within the surrounding design of a new public park of sloping greenways, maximizing the spectacle of the drones' shifts.
Public connectivity to the surrounding context is facilitated by the joining of
the greenways, Archgrounds, Mississippi River, and vertical farm. The landscape embodies a tension between technological production and public consumption in its hybrid program; Drone operations in the production stage are
mostly performed out of human sight, while drone operations in the output stage become visual spectacles. In addition, the infrastructural and formal language of the park and the lingering remnants of the site's past industry parallel the immense tension between the past and the present as we confront shifts in industrialization.