International practice, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), in partnership with European Space Agency (ESA), envisions a long-term, self-sufficient lunar settlement. The ‘Moon Village’ combines the expertise of the building sector, space industries, and applies interdisciplinary collaboration across architecture, urban planning, science, commerce and psychology.
To be displayed at Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, the exhibit titled Life Beyond Earth aims to display common objective of enabling long-term exploration of the Moon by establishing the first permanent human outpost beyond earth.
“This is our commitment to inspire the international community – the public, government, and industry – toward the exploration of a new frontier and the potential of human habitation on the Moon,” explains the studio.
The proposed habitat is located near the Moon’s south polar region on the rim of the Shackleton Crater. The self-sufficient settlement utilises the continuous daylight that the region receives throughout the year.
Individual habitat modules contain 104 square metres usable space, amounting to about 390 cubic metres of space intended to be used by four to six people. The module has been designed to maximise space by optimising the mechanical, crew and environmental control and life support systems. The modules are composed of hybrid structural system, a rigid composite perimeter frame and a soft inflatable structural shell with an integrated environmental protection system. This configuration produces optimised environmental conditions, air distribution and recycling, visibility, efficient working stations and seamless mobility.
This year’s Biennale post a question as its theme: How will we live together? This question is more relevant today as the world today confront the global challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. Life Beyond Earth aims to promote the benefit of space exploration and the long-term benefit for all societies with development in technology. The cluster of modules are situated near sites of resource and scientific interest and designed to be connected for seamless connectivity.
The exhibit showcases a large-scale model of individual habitat module, demonstrating the concept and the showpiece models will be augmented by a digital animation to engage visitors. SOM’s partnership with ESA envisions a long-term, extra-terrestrial human settlement that creates a vital ecosystem to support human presence and international goal of space exploration.
In May 2021, SOM and ESA will bring this vision to La Biennale di Venezia’s 17th International Architecture Exhibition in an exhibit titled Life Beyond Earth.
This year, the Biennale poses a question as its theme: How will we live together? As we collectively deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic – which has disrupted and transformed many of the ways in which we confront global challenges – this theme becomes especially relevant. In Life Beyond Earth, SOM and ESA reaffirm the importance of space and its benefits for all societies. This is our commitment to inspire the international community – the public, government, and industry – toward the exploration of a new frontier and the potential of human habitation on the Moon.
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) is an American architectural and engineering firm that was formed in Chicago in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings; in 1939 they were joined by John O. Merrill. They opened their first branch in New York City, New York in 1937. SOM is one of the largest architectural firms in the world. Their primary expertise is in high-end commercial buildings, as it was SOM that led the way to the widespread use of the modern international-style or "glass box" skyscraper. They have built several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the John Hancock Center (1969, second tallest in the world when built), Sears Tower (1973, tallest in the world for over twenty years), and Burj Khalifa (2010, current world's tallest building). SOM provides services in Architecture, Building Services/MEP Engineering, Digital Design, Graphics, Interior Design, Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Sustainable Design and Urban Design & Planning.