Life in Space
Our dreams for life in space are crafted in fiction, with visions ranging from the romantic to the dystopian. But as science continues to buffer reality toward our dreams, these visions have started to take on a new significance. This week, the New York Times asked some of art and architecture’s leading voices to envision life on the moon. Perhaps the most enigmatic (and least feasible) proposal comes from Daniel Libeskind, who suggested turning the moon from a sphere to a cube by means of paint.
"My son Noam is an astrophysicist at the Leibniz Institute in Germany, and we did some calculations about how it could work...I get that it’s probably not the cheapest concept — our estimate is about $10 trillion for paint costs alone — but I like the way that it would transform the moon into a work of contemporary art. Think of how amazing it would be to watch the phases shift; the light come across the visible portion, the craters, the Sea of Tranquillity, all framed by this rigid black square. Like a Malevich or Mondrian painting hanging in the sky. Literally a lunatic project." - Daniel Libeskind
If life on a Vantablack cube moon isn’t quite your cup of tea, perhaps you’d be more interested by OPEN Architecture’s vision design for a house onMARS. Their prototype, a collaboration with electronics giant Xiaomi,, was exhibited at this year’s China House Vision event and focuses on the house’s ability to maximize resources through the combination of cutting-edge technology, product design, and architecture. The future is just a planetary horizon away.
Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing, the design is part of an annual cross-industry innovation and research platform known as House Vision, which uses the medium of the “house” to explore and question the direction of our living habits and urban environments in the future.
Your Home - in the Future
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the most intriguing visions for housing in the future come via China. The 2018 China House Vision event (which took place next to Herzog & deMeuron’s Bird’s Nest) featured designs from architects including MAD, Atelier Deshaus, Penda, and Go Hasegawa.
The World on Display
But for future visions that hit a little close to home, look no further than Expo 2020. Designs have been trickling in over the past week, offering insight into how countries want to represent themselves to the world. Highlights include:
UK - Es Devlin
Pavilion will feature an illuminated “Message to Space,” with each of the Expo’s projected 25 million visitors invited to contribute. The idea draws directly on one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, a global competition that Hawking and his colleagues conceived in 2015 inviting people worldwide to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet, should we one day encounter other advanced civilizations in Space.
Spain - Selgas Cano
Unfortunately a second place finish, the Spanish architects' proposal reinterprets the plaza typology, offering a new take on the public square. The pavilion was made to be ultralight as a more sustainable structure that could be easily removed and transported. Formed as a 'breathing pavilion', the design allows two inflatables to move up and down to respond to views, light and breeze.
Austria - Penda + Smartvoll
One for the Weekend
While not a vision for the future, Mark Alan Hewitt's memories of mentor Robert Venturi offer personal insight into a mind set firmly in a world that designers often seem keen to ignore - our own. Venturi and partner Denise Scott Brown (who celebrated a birthday this week) saw the world for all the simplicity and complexity it was and continues to be. It may not always be beautiful, but it is always something to marvel at.