Make no mistake: Drones are coming, and they’re going to change a lot of things about how we shape our lives. So why shouldn’t we change how we shape our buildings to get ready for them?

Early adopters will probably buy personal flying vehicles in the not too distant future. Some models are being developed as we speak. Maybe an innovative architectural firm will even pitch the idea of building a ‘drone-ready’ condo tower in Japan or Dubai in the coming months—and maybe it will sell faster than we think.

Charles Bombardier


A mechanical engineer and a member of the family whose aerospace and transportation company builds trains, planes, and snowmobiles, Bombardier’s actually at his best when he ignores pesky things like budgets, timelines, and contemporary physics. Since 2013, he’s run a blog cataloging more than 200 concepts, each a fantastic, farfetched new way for people to travel through land, air, water, and space. His ideas are most certainly out there, but it’s Bombardier’s sort of creative thinking that keeps us moving forward.

That’s the basis for my Drone Tower, which would look like a futuristic condo building, with large balconies built to accommodate small electric aircraft or shipping drones. You wouldn’t need to buy your own drone, you’d simply order a ride with an app like a taxi—and hop in right from your terrace.

Of course this calls for rigorous safety standards, for the building as well as the increase in air traffic around residential buildings. If space is a bit tight, design railings that can slide down into the floor, or just use my idea for the Teatrix, robotic furniture that can move and modify itself, to scoot out of the way when an inbound vehicle is approaching.

Large balconies are always welcome in swanky condos, but they could be so much more if they obliterated your need to use the stairs or elevator, or to even get in a car or subway to reach your office tower.

I developed the Drone Tower concept in collaboration with Ashish Thulkar, an industrial designer from Bengalore, India. He also created the concept of the Escatek airport quick boarding system and the Metroshop commercial commuting train.


It’s Time for Fancy Apartments to Offer Balconies for Drone Landings