Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alert! An Architect in Space!

We think about the design of space ships and housing for Mars as tasks taken on by scientists and technologists. One architect saw a provocative "Help Wanted" sign on this field of design and began developing her alternative speciality: Space Architecture. Italian architect, Annalisa Dominoni, in a fascinating Q. & A., describes her work:

As a space architect, I design Lunar and Mars bases and equipment which requires specific skills and competence similar to traditional architecture disciplines. Also, technology and innovation have been very important in my career to define a new field of application in different areas, from intelligent fabrics (think about textile materials for inflatable habitation modules in Space but also tensile structure used in different context on Earth…) to nanotechnologies (for example the sensor systems integrated into materials to monitoring building structures and equipment, or the surface nanostructured treatments to improve the performances of the materials…) keeping in mind the importance of the user’s need in relation to the design of the artificial world, the “third skin” (the architecture).
Dominoni says she thrives on design challenges that demand she throw out assumptions of how things should be or should operate because, with the exception of underwater environments, there is no comparable terrestrial environment for the complex challenges presented by the weightlessness of space.

There could be few more liberating opportunities in the practice of architecture.

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