Helix – The Ultra Urban Logistics Hub of the Future

UMC Architects are proud to have once again been invited by Property Week and Savills to take part in a design competition to present a vision for an Urban Logistics Hub of the Future.

HELIX is the future of last mile logistics in high land value urban locations; an all-encompassing dynamic building which not only serves last mile deliveries, but also the inhabitants who coexist alongside this urban distribution hub.

HELIX will utilise verticality, incorporating super-automation to move goods multi-dimensionally within large flexible spaces for multiple users. Such efficiencies will mean goods into warehouse volumes will increase tenfold. Its modular nature will allow HELIX to grow organically and vertically, driven primarily by location, inherent land values and evolving transport dynamics.

The DNA of last mile logistics is to deliver products to the end user as fast as possible. By combining storage, distribution, mixed use and residential facilities in one building, HELIX will generate ‘on demand’ delivery, the ultimate in convenience to those inhabitants.

The HELIX concept is based around automated deliveries to the inner London context, reducing carbon emissions and will take advantage of the established transport network infrastructure of the London underground. Products will be delivered and loaded onto underground trains and transferred to HELIX locations during the night, processed, stored and ready for despatch outside of peak hours.

Based around a transient spiral storage solution, HELIX harbours the capability to receive deliveries from multiple distribution companies and is managed by ‘the Brain’, an intelligence hub. Cargo is delivered to an underground marshalling zone via the tube or driverless vehicles and immediately tracked and distributed onto the central spiral storage HELIX core. The spiral carousel offers efficiencies in space and through its intelligent computers will allow products to be stored and dispatched at any given point. This system also allows for ‘in house’ deliveries to the residential sleeve surrounding the distribution hub, using AI robot technology. Delivery modes outside of the HELIX include cycle courier, the tube, driverless robot, car, van or pedestrian, with the aim of reducing traffic movements within London.

HELIX will incorporate an external chameleon façade, enabling the building aesthetic to adapt to environmental conditions, combining solar collection cells at high level. Further HELIX could be constructed adjacent, with sky bridges enabling movement of goods and pedestrians between buildings.

To support the Helix design, please ‘like’ our entry on Instagram Ultra Urban Logistics Hub of the Future via the Property Week account