Martian Hub — Architecture Competition by

‘Martian Hub’: Architecture Design Competition for Mars Housing Colony Design Challenge

Fig: 1 — Space exploration has always piqued human interest and the possibility of using the resources available in this new domain has motivated several space missions over time.

Extra-terrestrial dreams

Earth is the only planet that is known to inhabit any form of life. But for the longest time, humankind has tried to find out if any other planet in our solar system is capable of hosting lifeforms. Several missions have been conducted to explore this possibility.

Space colonization has always been on the agenda for nations, and the need to establish humans as a multi-planetary species is on an urgent mode. But the harsh conditions of space are difficult to adjust to. The physical toll of living in low-gravity space and the psychological toll of confinement and isolation from Earth is severe.

Are we ready to inhabit a new planet?

Fig: 2 — Traces of the existence of some life forms has been found on the planet Mars at the beginning of this decade. (Credits: Forbes/Getty)

Martian possibility

For any reason that the Earth is rendered inhabitable, Mars could become a site for colonization. This notion has particularly gained traction in the present scenario of climate change which could potentially end all life on earth. With advanced technology at our disposal, we need to gain knowledge and learn from the missions over centuries, to explore possibilities of construction, under these new constraints.

Fig: 3 — The colonization of Mars is planned to begin in the next few years and proposals are being drawn up for colonies.

Brief of the Competition

Brief: The challenge of the competition is to conceptualize a design for a modular housing colony to be built on the planet Mars.

What would living on a new planet look like? Would traditional architecture techniques be of any use in this new atmosphere? How will the planet constraints shape the life of the inhabiting people?

Design Objectives

  • Form + Space: The housing must consist of all functions required to live off of the planet.
  • Resilient: The construction must be able to withstand the harsh conditions of the planet as well as the unexpected events in the future.
  • Self-sufficient: Reliance on resources from Earth or Mars must be limited as infrastructure is missing and the amount of material transported from the earth is limited.

Mars Exploration by NASA

The 2020 Perseverance mission is dedicated to astrobiology research. This includes the study of the planet’s surface, topography, climate, and signs of ancient microbial life. The rover landed in Jezero Crater, which is believed to have once hosted a water delta.

The rover is equipped with high-definition cameras that have sent the first-ever recordings and images of the planet. This visual documentation will assist in learning more about the planet’s conditions. The mission also paves the way to future missions with robotic and personnel crew.

Fig: 4 — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover was sent on a mission to recover images of the planet Mars. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU)


The environment on Mars is extreme. It has almost no gravity, no breathable air, and a very thin atmosphere with high radiation levels. Its surface is rocky with frequent dust storms. The temperature swings on the planet could be from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the same day.

The planet is barren, so calibrated use and reuse of transported resources from Earth is key.

Fig: 5 — Perseverance rover mission gives a closer look at the terrain and resources available on the planet Mars. (Credits: Design Taxi/Shutterstock)

Area Programme

The participants are free to choose the type of housing colony, with separate habitats, or social housing, or so on. The space configuration can be similar to comfort living units on Earth. The habitat of a housing colony can include spaces for dry labs, kitchen, individual cabins, sleep pods, recreation space, green dome, communication center, and so on.

No wastage can be afforded, so circular systems must be employed. Non-renewable energy sources and water-efficient designs are a must.

Spaces for vegetation growth and recycling systems must be demarcated.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Martian Hub | Space Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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