Now concluded, the Space Architecture Workshop, held June 12–16, 2023, at Villa Sassonia in Lugano, Switzerland, was a huge success. This event dedicated to architecture for space was organized by the School of Disruption in collaboration with the International Space University and Liquifer Systems Group. Space Architecture and Design was the subtitle of this second edition, which brought together 17 participants from 15 countries.
The Space Architecture Workshop saw the participation of respected educators, including Christophe Lasseur from the European Space Agency; Virginia Wotring, professor of Human Performance in Space at the International Space University; Christina Ciardullo, Search+ space architect; Angelo Vermeulen, researcher and biologist at Delft University; and Alessandro Tassinari, Macro-3D printing expert and founder of KEEEN Enterprises.
During the five days of the workshop, participants took part in a competition for the design of space architectural systems with the potential for making a positive impact on Earth. Underlying the program is the idea that space environments can be seen as organisms similar to the most modern cities on the planet – hi-tech cities, in particular. From this stems the possibility of transferring the designs and digital tools used in space to Earth as a contribution to livability and quality of life.
The morning lectures were presented by Barbara Imhof and René Waclavicek, space design pioneers and founders of Liquifer Systems. Their portfolio includes projects with organizations such as NASA, ESA, and several private players in the space industry.
The projects created by the participants during the afternoon workshops were evaluated by a jury made up of Maria Antonietta Perino, director of International Network and Opportunities Development at Thales Alenia Space; Carlo Colombo, designer and cofounder of A++ Group; Adolfo Suarez, partner of Lombardini22; and the workshop instructors, Barbara Imhof, René Waclavicek, and Igor Ciminelli, managing director of the School of Disruption.
The design challenges faced by the different teams ranged from recovery in the wake of natural disasters to desertification, housing in extreme conditions, solutions for the depletion of the planet’s resources, and life support and resilience systems.
The School of Disruption, part of Titan Suisse, promotes the new space economy with the aim of democratizing access to its skillset through training and consultancy. The goal is to train a new managerial class of design professionals able to transfer the technologies and approaches developed in space studies to terrestrial design in the interests of improving sustainability and efficiency in the use of resources.
"Over the years, life support systems have evolved to address resource management, with water, urine, and air recycling being the key challenges. Interestingly, these challenges are now relevant for terrestrial applications as well. Consequently, we engage in joint development projects, leveraging the strong synergy between our fields. We have already accomplished significant milestones, such as water recycling in European buildings, including greywater from dishwashers, showers, and washing machines. Additionally, we have pioneered the recycling of urine into fertilizers, and schools in Belgium utilize treated urine for toilet flushing and disinfection. We have also made strides in implementing the concept of bio-facades, cultivating photosynthetic microorganisms on building facades. These achievements drive us to pursue further success".
Christophe Lasseur, Head of MELiSSA research project at European Space Agency
All images courtesy of Titan Suisse