Space Architecture As Utopia

Space Architecture As Utopia

Today I am going to talk about drawing an utopia, because I see space architecture as- Utopia.
And the world is coming from ancient Greek- Used in Arcadia– To symbolize pastoral heaven.

In history, Plato write about utopia in his book Atlantis, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627), Campanella, The City of the Sun (1602).

Sir Thomas More defines No Place Happy Place, as an Island, that can only be reached by a ship after a voyage of discovery. And this isolated island is looking like a skull as a symbolization of a philosophy Memento Mori (remembering the death).

This definition is associating with space architecture in many ways.

The Mars is looking very like an isolated island, in the suburbs of milky way, that can only be reach by a ship after a voyage of uncertainties that most probably make you think about life and death many times, and Place is the basic condition of an human that you need to waive in order to reach that island.

And when we came to Utopian architecture, there is a very old relation between architecture and language, beginning in the 18th century, we see the work of Étienne–Louis Boulee’s Cenotaph of Newton is an example of speaking architecture.
He manipulates dark and light and swaps the position of micro and macro. When looked from the outside, it is the Earth itself, while from inside, it is the universe. He pierces the skin of the globe, and during day, the light will filter and create a pattern of the stars.

And this makes me remember, Architecture has the power to represent and SYMBOLIC Architecture is a linguistic metaphor.
The relation between ARCHITECTURE AND LANGUAGE transformed into an ARCHITECTURAL LANGUAGE in the 20th century that opens the gate of ‘Contemporary Architecture’ coming from a concept or notion or a meaning that even influence the material that is used.

And If we are going to remember, Language Scientist Charles Sanders Peirce Semiotic Model (1912) extends from Saussure’s (signifier and signified) model.
The sign is the symbol that is capturing the relation between the signifier and signified.
The spaceship creates a connection (and a symbol) between this world and another. Therefore, the spaceship represents a ‘sign’ that creates a bond between two places.

There are projects that used to seem impossible to be realized for social, economic or technological reasons. Such projects push the limits and go beyond the boundaries of reason and logic, hence, we are falling inside the scope of utopian architecture.
The visionary architects practice philosophy, brainstorming, and develop projects and scenario proposals to invent that Utopia.


The scenario is the protagonist when it comes to space architecture.

The importance of scenario reminds me the genius of writing, Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Plays are rich not only in terms of their content but also in terms of material that surrounds them. In most of his plays, nature appears to have participated in the plays in three ways as a personality.

In Macbeth, we witness a personalized angry nature that triggers human response. In King Lear, we see a stormy nature that is a reflection of his inner conflicts. A popular discourse of the day, world is my reflection. In Winter’s Tale, there is a nature reacts to injustice and impact the over all events.

As a comparison, the nature of environment has a direct impact on architecture. The planet landed and capabilities against these conditions determines the architecture in space

While Moon is;
The closest celestial object that has no atmosphere or water vapor causes the sky stay black all the time, and no protection from radiation and asteroids. The temperature differences are too high and changing on a cyclical base rather than seasonal. But there is also benefit of not having an atmosphere it can be used as a way station to other celestial objects.

Temperature differences are too high. The law of gravity can be used most probably as a hub of station to other celestial objects.

There are two types of architectures; as follows:
NEGATIVE ARCHITECTURE which we see in ancient cities like Cappadocia. ( overlansite.com has written a blog about Cappadocia)
LAVA Tunnels are examples for this type. They are still under the research progress – In terms of their size, they are large enough to accommodate humans that may settle down on them. These can be used for shelter to avoid radiation and asteroids as well as issues arising from huge temperature differences.

POSITIVE ARCHITECTURE from loadbearing to column-beam architecture.
In a place where nights are14 days long, energy efficiency is critical and in the South Pole, the sunlight will be always on the horizon. By using vertical constructed solar panels energy can be saved. As a Material, temperature- resistant materials are indispensable.

3D printing with Lunacrete that is formed under pressure vessels without water. To avoid material loss. Additionally, curved forms are recommended to avoid internal pressure problem.
The easiest way to construct moon-base is inflatables;
1-An inflatable structure is constructed
2- This structure is transported from Planet Earth –that has transportation advantage can work as the mold of Lunacrete, so, you can use regolith based 3d printed bricks to overlay this inflatable structure.

Has a very thin atmosphere (full of carbon dioxide), not capable of to protecting us, humans, from radiation and has lots of dust in the air. The color of the sky is bluish-black and Dark-yellowish brown (caramel like), and Sun is bluish glowing and illumination level is low according to earth. On average the temperature is -80 centigrade and 6 centigrade and because it is tilted on its axis, there are seasons. Day length is 24.5 hour and one year is equal tp 687 Earth days. This suggests that things here are quite different compared to Moon.

MARTIAN LAVA TUNNEL (Negative architecture)
There are also lava tunnels in mars, several meters below the surface could provide a primary shelter that can serve as habitats for human kind. The thick roof would protect humans against extreme conditions on the surface.

And other opportunities for positive architecture is
Bamboo-like plants that need little nutrients from the environment can be used for live architecture and human well-being as well. Of course below a protected cover. Flexibility of that plant makes it possible for furniture making.

Another idea is ice which is a translucent material allows light to infiltrate in an isolated habitat and can create ambiance.

To sum up, low Earth orbit, Moon and Mars all have distinctive systems and design approaches, while each has a unique environment. if we solve specific living environment issues along with sustainability, social sustainability, survivability, and psychological sustainability living space is not a dream for human beings.

Whatever design methodology and approach can be applied to each and this extends to exoplanets regardless. this is not just a visual exercise but a material exercise and system preselecting.

And So in so different places how can we come up to a result and create a common language?
By abstraction.

The best way to create a common language is abstract architecture. While realistic art and architecture fixes human reaction, abstract architecture draws out and describes the truth from the standpoint of the reference, while incorporating abstract imagination.
Abstract architecture focuses more on form and structure than on subject and content. Thus, lower and layered meanings can be reached. We can get the unpresentable by the help of abstract architecture.

If we think of Grid, it is not natural at all, it is systematic, it needs to be constructed, it is completely artificial, calibrated (calibrated-measured cut)

The Grid is the smallest unit in architecture. Geometrically, it is the sign of the architecture (even the universe as a whole)
Grid does not only provide, but also connects things. Everything on the grid is in a relation with each other, (even if the display is not linked to each other).
LEGO is a very good example of grid architecture with the addition of play element.

Repetition is one of the most important items of abstraction.
The repetition of the blocks takes our attention from the object to the process or the reproduction process.
Infinite repetition(Pattern) remains distant away from centralism and spreads it evenly in every direction.
To create different variation of the same module breaks the boredom of design and creates randomness which is quite important in human life.
Fractal design may be dull as the continuous unending sameness might be monotonous.

In fact, modularity is creating a system of independent modules – and we can even say that the product is individualized (personalized).
Modularity Extends the life of the product. There is a stance like the lock of fast growing in the point of growth.
1-Modularity in production
2-Modularity in design
3-Modularity in use

In Space Architecture, Modularity is also a three-stage system – we can talk about a multi-stage and step-by-step structure, with the modular systems of each stage being well resolved. These stages also have an economic impact on us.

As we conclude, if we remember ‘The Ship of Fools (Renaissance masterpiece oil painting) in the madness of civilization written by Michel Foucault, in the Medieval age, with a look into the emergence of insane people and their involvement in the history, we see that insanity is associated mostly with water and that they are voyagers, their expulsion is offered as something congratulatory and complementary. They are expelled from cities in a glamorous way.
Where they are taken to – the outside world in that case -is presented as a reward. Helping astronauts board in spaceships – on A ‘ship of fools’ – now is functioning in the same way, not it, actually as a way of expressing the same insanity in a different manner, in that it represents sending them to dreams,
to something that doesn’t exist.