Space & Innovation

Hive Skyscraper Supports Future's Drone Highways

The building would allow drones to dock legally in NYC, away from no-fly zones.

An award-winning design for Manhattan envisions a hive-like tower for unmanned aerial drones. The building would allow drones to dock legally, away from no-fly zones.

The Hive skyscraper concept was created by American designers for eVolo Magazine's annual Skyscraper Competition.

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A jury for the architecture magazine chose three winners from 489 entries. They were looking for designs that took novel approaches and challenged how we understand vertical architecture.

Hadeel Ayed Mohammad, Yifeng Zhao, and Chengda Zhu imagined The Hive as an alternative to 432 Park Avenue, a super-tall residential tower in Manhattan that topped out at well over 1,300 feet.

The Hive | Hadeel Ayed Mohammad, Yifeng Zhao and Chengda Zhu via eVoloMagazine

In their version, a centralized control terminal hosts docking and charging stations for both personal and commercial delivery drones.

The building's location would not only "gather the commercial power of Manhattan," the designers wrote in their project description, but stand "away from the no-fly-zones set by the FAA."

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Modules dotting the façade could fit nine different drone types, giving the skyscraper exterior an animated appearance as the drones come and go.

Despite this imaginative drone-accommodating design, first place in the competition went to New York Horizon, which proposes turning Central Park into a canyon surrounded by a "hybrid multi-functional mega structure." I had a visceral reaction to the mock-up.

New York Magazine wondered if it was the best or worst idea ever. In my view, it's terrifying.

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Third place went to a really neat sustainable data center design to house servers in Iceland. Looking like something straight out of Star Wars, the Data Skyscraper would take advantage of cold temperatures and be powered by renewable energy.

Between the growing need for data storage and our passion for drones, we're going to need room to house all that tech. Here's hoping the plans we actually do pick won't come back to sting us.

via Designboom

If you build it, the awards will come. The shortlist for the

2014 Structural Awards

has been announced, celebrating the best in structural design and engineering from around the globe. Handed out annually by the Institution of Structural Engineers, the awards cover a wide range -- buildings, bridges, residential homes, arenas and public sculptures. What follows is just a sampling of the dozens of finalists in the 13 award categories.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London's Kensington Gardens was built to incorporate the existing Magazine Building -- a historically significant 19th-century munitions store.

One of five shortlisted projects in the Highway or Railway Bridge category, the Elbebridge spans, yes, the Elbe River near the Schönebeck, Germany. It's the largest cable-stayed bridge in the region.

Next time you're passing through Heathrow airport, look for the new Slipstream sculpture, designed to express the movement of a stunt plane flying through the terminal entrance. Made from more than 32,000 wood and metal parts, it's the longest permanent sculpture in Europe.

In the Community or Residential Structures category, the Kew House in London, England, is a four-bedroom family home designed to fit in a tight space. Looks like you could get some good reading done here, and if privacy seems to be an issue, note that there's a brick perimeter wall around the entire home.

The intricate steel roof of this marketplace structure in Barcelona, Spain, was assembled at ground floor level before being raised into place.

Built in an ancient forest in East Sussex, England, the Red Bridge House is designed to minimize visual impact while providing clear views of the landscape. The reinforced concrete core structure is partially embedded in the hillside. Oh, and there's a swimming pool on the basement level.

At 255 meters (837 feet), the Shenzhen Stock Exchange building in China was designed to achieve strict requirements at different levels of seismic events. Specifically, it's built to sustain no structural damage during the most powerful kind of earthquake likely in the region. The building also earned the highest rating of Green Code sustainability criteria.

Built in the 1930s, the Manchester Library in England is beloved for its circular Reading Room, which sits atop four stories of book stacks. Renovating the space while preserving history involved complicated structural alterations and temporary supports -- and moving a lot of books. The project is shortlisted in the Structural Heritage category.

This Apple retail display space in Istanbul, Turkey, was praised by judges for its simplicity. It's made of exactly five elements -- four sheets of glass and a reinforced plastic roof, held together with structural silicone.

The image above shows just a portion of the 265-meter long Lower Hatea River Crossing in New Zealand, a sort of next-generation drawbridge inspired by various cultural designs of the Maori people. In fact, the opening section is inspired by a Maori fish hook design.