Foster + Partners is part of a consortium set up by the European Space Agency to explore the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar habitations. Addressing the challenges of transporting materials to the moon, the study is investigating the use of lunar soil, known as regolith, as building matter.
Continuing the practice’s earlier design explorations for building in extreme environments and extra-terrestrial habitats with the Lunar Habitation project, Foster + Partners have been working on a NASA-backed competition for a 3d-printed modular habitat on Mars. The design for the Mars Habitat outlines plans for a settlement constructed by an array of pre-programmed, semi-autonomous robots prior to the eventual arrival of the astronauts.
Located in the desert-like landscape of New Mexico, Spaceport is the first building of its kind in the world. Its design aims to articulate the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists while making a minimal impact on the environment. Viewed from space, the terminal evokes Virgin Galactic’s brand logo of the eye, and is suggestive of an elongated pupil, with the apron completing the iris. Approached from the historic El Camino Real trail, the terminal’s organic form appears as a subtle rise in the landscape.