Invited to participate in the 17th International Venice Architecture Biennale, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) exhibits Life Beyond Earth, a vision for a Moon Village. Developed together with the European Space Agency (ESA), the installation presents a proposal for a sustainable ecosystem that would support human presence on the Moon, exploring the opportunity of expanding the scope of architecture. The project reaffirms the importance of space exploration while also highlighting its potential to advance knowledge that would help address issues on Earth.
The Moon Village project is the result of ESA’s multidisciplinary initiative to explore ideas for inhabiting the Moon. SOM’s design envisions a long-term self-sufficient settlement composed of interconnected clusters of habitat modules adapted to the extreme conditions of outer space. Exhibited at the Corderie, the installation features two physical models and a film that allow visitors to envision a future of humanity in outer space.
Each module is designed as a rigid frame with an inflatable structural shell. The close-up details of the habitat showcase its engineering and technology while also providing an understating of the everyday life on the Moon’s surface. SOM Associate director Georgi Petrov says the exhibition is designed to “educate and inspire an audience of all backgrounds and offer a window into the future of space exploration.”
Our partnership with ESA demonstrates how interdisciplinary collaboration can support international goals for space exploration. It takes an unconventional approach to extraterrestrial habitat design, combining the expertise of the building and space industries and applying knowledge from the realms of architecture, urban planning, science, commerce, and psychology - SOM Design Partner Colin Koop.
Life Beyond Earth answers the question of the biennale: How will we live together by providing a glimpse into what could be an entirely new chapter in society’s evolution. At the same time, the challenges of designing for outer space and the research developed around moon habitation provides valuable insight into resource management, self-sufficient design, or construction techniques that can help tackle essential issues on Earth.
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