Additive Manufacturing Strategies

A 20th Century Bullring Reimagined as a 21st Century Drone Station

ST Medical Devices

Share this Article

Bullfights arouse strong feelings on both sides. Their aficionados see them as a place of near reverence, where animal and man engage in an athletic dance summoning the shadows of mankind’s struggles for both dominance over and stewardship of his natural counterparts. Opponents of the sport decry its violence and bloodshed, the unnecessary cruelty of what they see as a prolonged infliction of torture upon one of our planet’s fellow creatures. In 2012, Catalonia, the region of Spain that contains Barcelona, agreed more with the latter characterization than the former and banned the sport.aaeaaqaaaaaaaakyaaaajde1ztizymu4lwnhymytndhkni05nzbjltc4mzbjyzk5zje2oa

This has left the historic La Monumental bullring without its traditional occupants, but it is a building too beautiful and too iconic to be allowed to fall into decay. Instead, it has become a venue for other types of sporting events, musical performances, and even the circus, as well as being open for tourists who may be interested in seeing the only Art Nouveau bullring in the world. When Frederick Ajjoub had the opportunity to reimagine the building as part of his aaeaaqaaaaaaaajtaaaajgm3mdrin2zkltawztitngrhns05mwy4lwm4mjdhmzkznmuwzgMasters degree at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, his vision was that of a drone station, which is basically a droneport, or an airport for drones. recently visited the world’s first commercial droneport in Boulder City, Nevada, as part of the Drone Rodeo at CES 2017; droneports are showing up more and more in plans.

Drones were of particular interest to Ajjoub because of their uses in providing visuals from the air, something that has made capturing images of architecture, landmarks, and geographical areas possible in a way only imagined before. But there is more to creating a drone station than just having a flat spot for the little machines to touch down. In order to fully understand the project, Ajjoub began working with Rowland Marshall, a Business Developer at Parrot who was instrumental in helping him with both the design programming and the overarching vision for the hub. As Ajjoub wrote:

“From the first day we met, Rowland was motivated and excited about the prospect of such an interesting idea. His proficiency and experience in this field let me discover and structure new ideas about organization and economy, the station program, and its efficiency. Together we explored the different aspects of the building and its reinvention, including likely uses, the organization, and the logistics of drones in operation. Soon, the vision of La Monumental as the Drone Hub of transportation in the world emerged, where all different uses from the photography to the autonomous transportation, could come together – it would be an Innovation Center for Drones.”

aaeaaqaaaaaaaafzaaaajgrhn2rimdy0ltg5ogitngqwni1hyte2lta0mgzloty2mdrmzqOne aspect of the drone hub was the idea of integrating a tip of the hat to its torrero tradition by having it as a location for races and drone fights. Ajjoub looked ahead to what the future of drones might be and imagined the hub as serving the needs of dream inventions such as autonomous flying cars, in addition to the more currently realistic functions of such a space. As he worked to develop his design, he imagined dividing the space among a Fab Lab, multi investment retail and services, drone recreation, and transportation.

UntitledThe central concept of the drone hub is the drone itself and its form and function inspired its architectural counterpart. Imagined as containing four hubs, much like each of the four propellers and with a dedication to the idea that no single part can operate without the cooperation of all of the others, the core idea is one of cycle. But it goes beyond a simple recreation of a drone or even of a depiction of cycle. As expressed by internationally recognized professor and architect Matthew Dudzik, of Dudzik Studios and Yves Grafik:

“By creating a building which is decoupled from the historic structure, this project recognizes the importance of the historic fabric and the need to preserve the architectural cultural heritage of Catalonia. One has to ask, however, if we are moving into a world where our digital lives are more fundamental to our existence than our physical ones, for how long we will require a corporal venue for the voyeuristic pleasure of spectacle and destruction that has been part of our public realm since Ancient Rome? Perhaps the greatest take away from this proposal is not its program, but rather the very real suggestion that advanced technologies could one day change our building codes and our current understanding of space.”

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaioaaaajdbiztywyjcxlwrmmgitndq3mc04mtm1ltlhzgu4n2m1nge1mqIn short, this project raises as many questions as it answers, but that is the exactly the point of any design project worth its salt. The arena as originally designed at the beginning of the 20th century proposed to answer a question, but has since continued to raise them, and as time passes, it should not be the individual answers upon which we focus, otherwise the bullring is doomed to become irrelevant and necessarily removed. Instead, each time we address the building, the goal should be to improve the quality of our questions. No small accomplishment in and of itself for a student project. My advice? Keep an eye on Frederick Ajjoub, he is bound to continue to excel. You can read his full outline here. Discuss in the Drone Hub forum at

[All images: Frederick Ajjoub]


Share this Article

Recent News

3D Printing Robots Receive €1 Million Boost

3D Printing People: A Dialogue Beyond Industry at TIPE 2022


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: January 16, 2022

We’re back in business this week with plenty of webinars and events, both virtual and in-person, starting with the second edition of the all-female-speaker TIPE 3D Printing conference. There are...

Women in 3D Printing’s Posts Agenda for TIPE Conference and Virtual Career Fair

This January 18-20, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) is back for the second time in a row with its TIPE 3D Printing Conference and Virtual Career Fair. Like its inaugural...

Women in 3D Printing Onboards New President

As the nonprofit celebrates seven years of supporting women in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) has taken on a new leader. Kristin Mulherin is taking...

3D Printing Trade Show Best Practices: Food and Food for Thought

This is the third installment of ideas, suggestions, and best practices for your 3D printing stand from an interested observer. We previously discussed booth location and how best to connect...


View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.