Skyportz, Contreras Earl Architecture, and Pascall+Watson Architects have announced their concept for an Australian waterfront e-mobility hub. This concept, set to debut at the World Air Taxi Congress in San Francisco, envisions the transformation of an existing heliport on Melbourne’s Yarra River into a state-of-the-art vertiport. The availability of vertiports on the water will pave the way for the integration of clean, quiet, electric air taxis.
The proposal goes beyond air taxis and aims to create a comprehensive multi-modal hub. Electric scooters, bikes, ferries, and hire boats will converge at this hub, providing added connectivity for travelers. A cafe will further enhance the hub’s appeal, offering spectators a front-row view of the aerial action.
Skyportz CEO, Clem Newton-Brown, emphasized the significance of waterfront locations for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) development. He stated, “Waterfront sites provide the safest access for electric air taxis, with clear approach and departure paths, meeting aviation requirements. Additionally, waterfront areas offer the space needed for terminals and even floating landing pads.”
This concept aligns with international trends, such as Paris’s decision to place its new vertiport on the river. Newton-Brown believes that waterfront locations will be the preferred choice when cities decide on vertiport sites.
Rafael Contreras, Director of Contreras Earl Architecture, described the vertiport as a “landmark building” that prioritizes sustainability, lightweight construction, and an exceptional user experience. The vertiport’s high-performance roof, designed with an aluminum monocoque structure, embodies these principles, highlighting Melbourne’s progressive stance with two designed vertiports in the city.
Martin Neilan, Aviation Director at Pascall+Watson Architects, sees the Melbourne Vertiport as a pivotal project that aligns with the city’s Greenline Masterplan. It promises zero-pollution, rapid transport, and improved pedestrian access along the Yarra River.
Newton-Brown underscored the importance of breaking the aviation-airport nexus in fostering AAM growth. He emphasized the need for a network of new vertiport sites, with waterfront locations holding immense potential.
Why it’s important: In unveiling this concept, Skyportz, Contreras Earl Architecture, and Pascall+Watson Architects are reflecting the growing trend of creative use of city space for vertiports and aerial mobility infrastructure, taking advantage of space that is less used in certain areas and that also allows for more flexibility in operations, including multi-modal transport mediums at the convergence of land and water based hubs.