Reaching New Heights


Architect and photographer Fernando Guerra built the first known drone for architectural photography in 2010.  He purchased an inexpensive drone and outfitted it with a high-definition camera and extra engines to take pictures of buildings from above.  This early drone had a two-minute capacity, quickly changing the future of architectural design.  Drones allow a new look and perspective into spaces with numerous angles and images.  Drones are also called “UAVs”, short for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Exciting opportunities are on the horizon for architects.   Drones are now being used within architecture and construction industries.  Among many uses, drones are being used for surveying building sites, as transport vehicles, and as marketing tools.

  • Costs can be reduced when using drones to make typographic surveys
  • There is no longer a need to hire a land surveyor
  • Environmental changes below ground can be watched and evaluated
  • In 2012, polystyrene bricks were transported at a construction site in France
  • Rope bridge for humans was built by a drone in Zurich
  • High definition photographs create stunning visuals for marketing purposes
  • More accurate data creates stronger marketing materials

Drones provide other benefits for design and safety.

  • Adding high definition cameras, infrared scanners, and thermal sensors can be helpful in the design phase of building
  • Build better architectural models with more accurate data from 3D drafting and modeling software
  • It is a safer option than sending people into unsafe places

Laws on drone usage vary around the world.   Regulations regarding flying in the dark, out of the operator’s sight, above certain altitudes, and near other structures or people are common limitations and concerns.  Some countries require training programs, but these are in early phases of development.

What form will drones take in coming years?  City development and dwellings could look space age with multiple layers of aircraft buzzing through the skies.  Talk of lower level human transport, mid-level package delivery, and higher altitude commercial aircraft sounds complicated and exciting.  Hopefully, emergent help for undeveloped areas and countries like Africa will arrive soon with unlimited opportunity for human mercy.

“Laws regarding drone use are neither simple nor easy. Being held to high standards of responsibility and integrity are required for the right to use drones.” – Katherin Frankovic, KDE Photography