Thursday, 4 April 2013

Space really is the final frontier

There is a fascinating and only slightly belated obituary in the New York Times of an architect called Danforth W Toan. He was, apparently, one of the first to think about designing for space, coming up with simulations of the way that space could be used in a constricted space station. And I mean space. What is fascinating is that he realised that the three dimensional thinking in which architects specialise becomes really valuable when people are in zero gravity. Whereas on earth high ceilings mean simply that we have more air above our heads, in space when we are weightless we inhabit the entire volume. Thinking about space itself rather than in plan or section becomes vital. Toan was having his insights 45 years ago, but space continues to fascinate. A team of space architects at TU Vienna are publishing a book on their latest project, a deployable shelter for Mars. Will we ever get there? Who knows? But the images are certainly seductive.

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