Origami-Inspired Lunar Habitat Put to Test in Greenland 

A pair of Danish architects from SAGA Space Architects have travelled to a remote area in Greenland to put a living habitat designed for the surface of the Moon to the test

Between September and November, Sebastian Aristotelis and Karl-Johan Sørensen will live inside the Lunark Mark I Habitat in a deserted part of the Arctic. The two architects have been designing the pod since May 2019, with construction finishing in August 2020. 

The habitat must be able to withstand the harsh environment of space. The pair chose Greenland due to its similarities with the Moon. 

“There are no surrounding stimuli, and therefore it will be the most faithful simulation of what it will be like to live on the Moon, which we can simulate here on Earth,” says Aristotelis. 

The Lunark Habitat combines the ancient Japanese art of origami with biomimicry to create a structure that can fold during transportation and expand upon arrival on the lunar surface. Jagged panels attached to a hinge design combine to make a lightweight yet strong dome that expands in volume by 560% and weighs just 1738kg. 

Inside the “tank-like” exterior is a compact but welcoming living area that contains a 3D-printer, vertical farm, batteries, water tank and algae-based life support system. A circadian light system creates an artificial circadian rhythm to counteract the constant sunlight, which will be similar on the poles of the Moon. Solar panels cover the exterior to provide energy, with all waste being recycled by the habitat. 

Above, the building is topped with 1,200 solar panels and green roofs, as well as a space for visitors and events. The structure will also be powered by geothermal wells, with heating provided by surplus heat from the production process.

Outside, the building will feature landscaping for visitors, where they can see into the various parts of the factory and access the roof space above.

The project also includes careful landscaping of the park beyond to enable visitors and Vesre employees to fully access and enjoy the forest.

“With Vestre we have imagined a factory that is simultaneously front of house and back of house,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG.

“The radical transparency invites visitors and hikers to enjoy the whole process of manufacturing while providing the workers the thrill of working in the middle of the forest.”

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Images courtesy of SAGA Space Architects