Futuristic eVTOL vertiport readies for takeoff in Melbourne
If we're going to reach the point of flying around our cities in eVTOLS like something out of an episode of The Jetsons then, alongside the actual aircraft themselves, we're also going to need some serious infrastructure to support them. With this in mind, Contreras Earl Architecture has revealed plans for a new vertiport on the waterfront in Melbourne's Batman Park.
This latest proposal is the second planned vertiport for Melbourne by Contreras Earl Architecture, the first design being pitched for Caribbean Park last year. The Batman Park project is being developed in collaboration with Skyportz and Pascall+Watson Architects, and envisions replacing the park's existing helipad with a new purpose-built vertiport to accommodate the introduction of the electric air taxis. The idea is for the vertiport to also become a hub for electric scooters, bikes, as well as ferries, hire boats and a cafe too.
Assuming it goes ahead, it will consist of three connected landing pads situated in the water and a futuristic podium-like building that brings to mind Contreras Earl Architecture's Living Coral Biobank and is topped by an aluminum segmented roof. It will be prefabricated and quick to assemble and, according to Contreras Earl Architecture, will be self-sufficient, but it's not clear whether this refers to just the building itself or the support infrastructure for the eVTOLs as well.
"This landmark building is the result of addressing many different important parameters, including sustainability, context, climate, community and the user experience, " explained Contreras Earl Architecture. "The vertiport will feature a high-performance roof designed to be structurally robust, lightweight and sustainable owing to its aluminum monocoque structure – the same system employed in the manufacturing of cars and aircraft. By embracing the latest technology, we are liberated from traditional building practices and forms, and free to explore more forward-thinking ideas. Melbourne is ahead by having two vertiports designed in its city. We are proud to be part of the implementation of this new technology and what it means for the future of Melbourne and clean, green travel."
Vertiports are potentially big business and Skyportz says it has identified around 400 potential sites across Australia to be developed for eVTOLS, with one possible idea mentioned to retrofit existing buildings and multilevel car parking garages. This could prove a more cost-effective and practical – though admittedly less exciting and flashy – approach compared to ideas from the likes of EHang and Hyundai.
We've no word yet on how soon we can expect the project to be realized but Contreras Earl Architecture reports that it hopes the new Batman Park vertiport could utilize existing helicopter permissions, which could possibly speed things up.
Source: Contreras Earl Architecture