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Moon Village Designed For ESA

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill | 4:00

Moon Village Designed For ESA

Tim Gibson

3 June 2021

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SKIDMORE, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has collaborated with the European Space Agency (ESA) to design a human settlement for the moon.

The aptly-named “Moon Village” is now on display at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

The installation is intended to transport visitors to a lunar settlement in the near future - a testing ground for new ways of living in extreme environments and a model for global collaboration in outer space.

The village is the result of a multidisciplinary initiative launched by the ESA and developed by MIT AeroAstro Professor and former NASA astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman.

Above: The Moon Village is now being exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Image by Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy of SOM.

Proposed to be located on the Moon’s southern polar region, the settlement will have near continuous daylight throughout the lunar year - meaning it will be able to harness energy from the sun and be self-sufficient.

The module will be inflatable, allowing it to be compressed and transported by rocket. Once on the Moon it will be inflated to its full size.

SOM has differed their proposal from other inflatable designs by removing the structural and mechanical systems from the centre, allowing for an open interior that prioritises the living experience of its inhabitants.

Above: The exhibit aims to transport visitors to the near future. Image by Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy of SOM. 

“(The Moon Village) looks at human space exploration not simply as a design challenge but as an opportunity to create a better world,” said SOM Associate Director Georgi Petrov in a press release.

“The project shows how global collaboration and resource sharing in space can lead to better outcomes for all.”

“(Our design) presents a paradigm shift in space architecture,” adds SOM Senior Designer Daniel Inocente.

“Our... habitable modules emerge not just from engineering constraints but from an understanding of the human experience — from a commitment to creating an environment that brings everything one needs to survive and thrive under the most extreme of conditions.”

The theme for this year’s architecture Biennale is “How to live together” - a theme which SOM seems to have uniquely answered.

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