Designing Homes on Mars

Meet the architects designing homes on Mars

Students at the Barboza Space Center are designing Martian habitats using space mathematics from their high school geometry program.   We invite you to take a closer look at what other designers are working on.


Foster + Partners are currently busy designing Apple’s ‘spaceship’ HQ but they’re not keeping their feet on the ground in the mean time — they’re developing human colonies on Mars.

The firm’s designs, shortlisted as a finalist for NASA and American Makes’ 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, detail a 93-square meter habitat 3D printed from soil and rocks from the red planet’s surface and designed to house four astronauts.

The idea builds off Foster + Partners previous designs for a Moon base, detailed on WIRED.


Under the conceptual proposal, a team of semi-autonomous robots would land ahead of human astronauts to start the build, digging meter-deep craters to prepare for a delivery of inflatable modules. This deployment and construction is designed to take place with minimal human input, ensuring an adaptive system that doesn’t rely on extensive Earth-to-Mars communication. The system is also prepared for unexpected changes — something likely to happen on a mission of this scale.


The process of actually creating the building material — fusing loose Martian soil with microwaves — involves the same principles involved in 3D printing and would create a permanent shield to protect the space campus from radiation and extreme temperatures.

The design combines spatial efficiency with details optimised for human physiology and psychology. Virtual environments are combined with overlapping private and communal spaces, making sure astronauts are comfortable as well as productive.

This is what happened when we were given a look inside Foster + Partners’ ‘secret lab’

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