A full-scale house for future life on Mars is in the making in Bristol

Extreme architecture expert Hugh Broughton has received planning permission for ‘Building a Martian House’ – a public art project by Bristol artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Oct 30, 2020

How can we make design that is about living well on Mars rather than just surviving? How do we build the house for the future, now? Should we be taking our history or culture with us or should we start anew?

These were some of the inquiries that fuelled the idea of a full-scale house for future life on Mars - an outcome of a public art project conceived by Bristol-based artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent. The project titled, ‘Building a Martian House’ hopes to create a people’s version of a habitat on the Martian landscape by bringing together artists, architects, engineers, scientists, and the public in the creative process. 

07 mins watch Building a Martian House’ hopes to create a people’s version of a house on the red planet | Hugh Broughton Architects | Bristol | STIRworld
Building a Martian House’ hopes to create a people’s version of a house on the red planet Video: © Paul Saumel White

Architect Hugh Broughton, founder of the London-based eponymous firm that specialises in the design of buildings in remote locations, describes the project as an ‘alluring egalitarian concept’. Having partnered with multidisciplinary design studio Pearce+, the two firms conceptualised a conducive built space and a flexible design to suit the extremities of the red planet.

The prototype visualises a two-storey structure in which the lower level is to be built under the ground and the upper will sit on the surface. External access to the house is provided via a scaffold staircase and a platform lift, while internally the floors are connected through an inbuilt ladder.

Concept sketch of the house | Hugh Broughton Architects | Bristol | STIRworld
Concept sketch of the house Image: © Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+

To keep the structure lightweight enough to be transported to Mars, the upper level will be shaped using a pressurised gold-coated foil, which upon arrival on the planet will be inflated and filled with Martian soil to insulate the structure from galactic and solar radiations.

“It might seem quite science fiction to think about living on Mars but actually the practicality of how you live has relevance to all of us,” says Nicki Kent, who together with co-artist Ella Good will be installing the project besides Bristol’s M Shed in April 2022. The five-month public programme will host various workshops, talks, events and research to further ideate the interiors of the house.

Broadly the spaces within the house, as per the design by Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+, follow a simple format with emphasis on minimal yet essential resources.

The lower level is designed for flexible, private living spaces where two rooms separated by flexible partitions can be used as the family’s bedroom and dining. Other facilities include a kitchenette, toilet, and a storage room.

  • Layout Plans | Hugh Broughton Architects | Bristol | STIRworld
    Layout Plans Image: © Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+
  • Elevations | Hugh Broughton Architects | Bristol | STIRworld
    Elevations Image: © Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+

The upper level will have a workshop and a hydroponic living room to ensure a circular energy cycle within the house and a healthy living environment for its people. Services to support the system including air filtration are kept on the lower level.  

The prototype in Bristol will feature a scaffold hoarding on the lower level, printed with information about the work along with quirky illustrations on space travel.

Artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent in astronaut suits at the Mars Desert Research Station, Utah | Hugh Broughton Architects | Bristol | STIRworld
Artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent in astronaut suits at the Mars Desert Research Station, Utah Image: © Satori Photos

“It’s essentially like providing people with this scenario of going to another planet to live. It’s also about looking at what would happen if you start all over again,” adds Good, who believes the overall effort has been like working on a blank canvas.

Visualisation of ‘Building a Martian House’ installed in Museum Square outside M Shed | Hugh Broughton Architects | Bristol | STIRworld
Visualisation of ‘Building a Martian House’ installed in Museum Square outside M Shed Image: © Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+

‘Building a Martian House’ seeks to invite perspectives on rethinking life on Earth through exploring the challenges of life on Mars. Funded by The Edward Marshall Trust, the project once installed in Bristol in 2022, will be on view for four months.

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
1445,1477,1446,1602,1418

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

Collaborate with us

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE