As we move into a new phase of urban design and architecture that is based around a willingness to see environmentally sustainable developments in ever-increasing packed out urban areas it is interesting to see the different ideas that are being introduced the world over. What about beyond this planet though? It is only natural that as we see this planet become overcrowded and at the mercy of the environment that the human population has damaged (possibly irreversibly at this point) that we look to the skies as a human race and the possibilities of living on other planets.
How will architecture be used to help colonisers of planets in the future (if it is in fact a realistic proposition)?
Malaysian architects Amir Amzar and Warith Zaki have designed a concept for a colony on Mars called Seed of Life. It envisions the use of bamboo that is grown and harvested on the red planet to build structures. The series of structures would be woven from the bamboo by robots. The proposal was delivered by the pair to demonstrate that there is always a way to build new developments without having to use materials that are shipped from other destinations. This is certainly the case on our planet, and should be the case if and when we see the colonisation of Mars and other planets. There should not be a reliance on materials shipped from earth when there is a way of building brand-new structures from bamboo grown and harvested on the planet itself.
Up to now the majority of ideas about how to colonise Mars has been split between those that ship fully synthetic materials that have been made on earth and shipped to the planet for the construction of shelters, and those where the local available regolith is envisaged. This plan by Zaki and Amzar looks at using a different approach.
The idea is that each modular pod would be built over six years, utilising frozen ice as a source of water in the initial stages once explorers have landed and located these sources. Bamboo shoots would be sent to the planet to grow using these water sources, and then removed once fully grown after three years put to use through the automated robots and woven around the structure.
Sci-fi has always had an impact in some way in how technology has advanced and what we deem as possible. Space travel for the masses is a distinct possibility within the next few decades, with projects already booked for passengers to experience space travel as a tourist. Although a colony on Mars seems like a long way off it is extremely interesting to see how different architects envisage the buildings of space, and how they could possibly work to house a new civilisation on a brand-new planet. Sustainability of materials will certainly be of concern, and with this idea from Malaysian designers you can certainly see how exciting and innovative a Mars colony could potentially be.