135 FUTURAMA

Living - - English Text -

Mo­re than dreams, pro­jec­ts. For the spa­ce, prin­ta­ble hou­ses and ga­lac­tic tou­ri­sm. On ear­th, plant-co­ve­red buil­dings, shared li­ves, smart ho­mes and re­cy­cling. The fu­tu­re is he­re

MARS Is the­re li­fe on Mars? Da­vid Bo­wie po­sed this que­stion in his 1971 song. The an­swer? Soon. It could hap­pen as soon as 2024. That’s the goal of Elon Mu­sk, the bil­lio­nai­re foun­der of Te­sla Mo­tors, who­se pri­va­te com­pa­ny Spa­ceX is mo­ving for­ward wi­th the am­bi­tious plan of co­lo­ni­zing the red pla­net by sen­ding in­to or­bit 100 peo­ple wi­thin eight years and one mil­lion mo­re by 2075. Not sur­pri­sin­gly, the in­ter­stel­lar pro­ject is ou­tra­geou­sly ex­pen­si­ve and tho­se of us who are mo­re do­wn to ear­th di­scount it as me­re scien­ce fic­tion. But the ap­peal of co­lo­ni­zing Mars could be mu­ch mo­re than a pi­pe dream if it’s true that cli­ma­te chan­ge cau­sed by fos­sil fuels is jac­king up the tem­pe­ra­tu­res so hi­gh that man will be for­ced to aban­don ear­th in the fu­tu­re. In fact, Lon­don’s De­si­gn Mu­seum is plan­ning an ex­hi­bit ti­tled “Mars” for au­tumn 2019. The pla­net could be­co­me our se­cond ho­me, al­beit not a wee­kend ge­ta­way sin­ce its 225 mil­lion ki­lo­me­tres away. «Mars is re­la­ti­ve­ly clo­se», said Ste­fa­no Boe­ri, who heads the Fu­tu­re Ci­ty La­bo­ra­to­ry, a mul­ti­di­sci­pli­na­ry re­sear­ch de­part­ment at Ton­g­ji Uni­ver­si­ty in Shanghai. «Rea­ching the pla­net ta­kes on­ly th­ree mon­ths and so­me of the li­ving con­di­tions are si­mi­lar to ear­th, even thou­gh the ave­ra­ge tem­pe­ra­tu­re mu­ch lo­wer and the so­lar year is 670 days». In part­ner­ship wi­th the Chi­ne­se spa­ce agen­cy, the lab is con­duc­ting re­sear­ch in­to whe­ther it’s pos­si­ble to li­ve on Mars. «We are ima­gi­ning that the­re would be ma­ny trees and plan­ts, thank to cul­ti­va­ted ci­ty­fo­rests. The chlo­ro­phyll in this gree­ne­ry helps trig­ger the pho­to­syn­the­sis that re­sul­ts in oxy­gen pro­duc­tion». Sin­ce plan­ts could be our li­fe­blood on this new pla­net, other ar­chi­tec­tu­re firms are re­crea­ting the red pla­net’s ex­tre­me con­di­tions he­re on ear­th. The Mars Scien­ce Ci­ty pro­ject is being de­si­gned by a team from the Uni­ted Arab Emi­ra­tes’ Mo­ham­med bin Ra­shid Spa­ce Cen­tre and the Da­ni­sh ar­chi­tec­tu­ral firm Bjar­ke In­gels Group (BIG). The lar­ge­st-ever spa­ce si­mu­la­tion ci­ty will re­crea­te Mars-li­ke con­di­tions on 17.5 hec­ta­res in the UAE de­sert in or­der to stu­dy ways in whi­ch the­se fir­st co­lo­nists will be able to li­ve self-suf­fi­cien­tly wi­th the avai­la­ble ener­gy, food and wa­ter (la­st Ju­ly a salt­wa­ter la­ke was di­sco­ve­red on Mars). The tech­no­lo­gies that will be de­ve­lo­ped at Mars Scien­ce Ci­ty will be the fir­st step for man to be­co­me «a mul­ti-pla­ne­ta­ry spe­cies», said BIG foun­der, Bjar­ke In­gels. The Mars Scien­ce Ci­ty pro­ject pro­po­sal em­pha­si­zes that ar­chi­tec­tu­re ma­kes our world mo­re li­vea­ble: «This be­co­mes fun­da­men­tal­ly clear when we ven­tu­re beyond our Ter­ran ori­gins and set­tle in fo­rei­gn worlds. De­si­gning to low gra­vi­ty, low pres­su­re, ex­tre­me colds and hi­gh le­vels of ra­dia­tion ra­di­cal­ly chan­ges the ar­chi­tect’s tool kit and the re­sul­ting forms and spa­ces». This Mars-on-ear­th will be lo­ca­ted in­si­de a se­ries of geo­de­sic do­mes. A spa­ce mu­seum will en­ga­ge and edu­ca­te vi­si­tors, so­me of whom ju­st might be fu­tu­re cli­ma­te mi­gran­ts. But be­fo­re the­se co­lo­nists set foot on Mars, an ad­van­ce team of ro­bo­ts needs to con­struct li­ving spa­ces. At lea­st this is the theo­ry of the ac­clai­med ar­chi­tect Nor­man Fo­ster who en­vi­sions se­mi-au­to­no­mous ro­bo­ts con­struc­ting 3D prin­ted struc­tu­res using re­go­li­th, the mi­ne­ral du­st that co­vers this alien land. «Gi­ven the va­st di­stan­ce from the ear­th and the en­suing com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­lays, the de­ploy­ment and con­struc­tion are de­si­gned to ta­ke pla­ce wi­th mi­ni­mal hu­man in­put, re­ly­ing on ru­les and ob­jec­ti­ves ra­ther than clo­se­ly de­fi­ned in­struc­tions», ex­plai­ned Fo­ster + Part­ners in a sta­te­ment. «This ma­kes the system mo­re adap­ti­ve to chan­ge and unex­pec­ted chal­len­ges – a strong pos­si­bi­li­ty for a mis­sion of this sca­le». Ano­ther Da­vid Bo­wie song “Spa­ce Od­di­ty” be­gins to play in our heads when con­si­de­ring Phi­lip­pe Starck’s la­te­st pro­ject. He’s de­si­gning the in­te­rior of a ho­tel in­si­de the world’s fir­st com­mer­cial spa­ce sta­tion. En­joy a co­smic va­ca­tion at ze­ro gra­vi­ty, at lea­st un­til Mars opens to vi­si­tors.

UR­BAN FO­RESTS Fa­bio Sal­bi­ta­no is cal­ling for an eco-ma­keo­ver of our ci­ties. «We need to pla­ce mo­re im­por­tan­ce on gree­ning the ci­ties of the fu­tu­re», said the Uni­ver­si­ty of Flo­ren­ce as­so­cia­te pro­fes­sor in the agri­cul­tu­ral ma­na­ge­ment de­part­ment. «This is not an ex­pen­se, but an in­vest­ment. The mo­re we rai­se aware­ness of this idea, talk about it and ta­ke con­cre­te ac­tions the bet­ter». Sal­bi­ta­no is one of the or­ga­ni­zers of theWorld Fo­rum on Ur­ban Fo­rests (28 No­vem­ber-1 De­cem­ber 2018, Man­tua, Ita­ly). The UN’s Food and Agri­cul­tu­re Or­ga­ni­za­tion is the main pro­mo­ter, mar­king the fir­st ti­me that a UN agen­cy has de­di­ca­ted a con­fe­ren­ce to this su­b­ject. In the la­st few years, ur­ban fo­rests ha­ve be­co­me in­crea­sin­gly im­por­tant for ci­ty go­vern­men­ts. Pro­jec­ts are ap­pea­ring in the port­fo­lios of pre­sti­gious ar­chi­tec­ts, who are toi­ling away to tran­sform the ur­ban land­sca­pe. The con­cre­te jun­gle is be­co­ming mo­re jun­gle, less con­cre­te. All abloom are lea­fy sky­scra­pers and lu­sh fa­ca­des, pu­blic parks, com­mu­ni­ty ve­ge­ta­ble gar­dens and roof-top gar­dens, as well as the fo­rests sur­roun­ding ci­ties. «For de­ca­des, we’ve wat­ched as plan­ts and green areas ha­ve been di­sap­pea­ring from ur­ban cen­tres», said Pe­te­rWal­ker, a re­no­w­ned land­sca­pe ar­chi­tect from the Uni­ted Sta­tes. «This has re­sul­ted in poo­rer air qua­li­ty and ur­ban heat islands. We are even lo­sing com­mu­ni­ty ga­the­ring spa­ces. The­re’s mu­ch to be gai­ned by the re-gree­ning of an area, not on­ly en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly but al­so so­cial­ly. In fact, being sur­roun­ded by na­tu­re doe­sn’t be­ne­fit ju­st the eco­no­my, it helps the psy­che», stres­sed Wal­ker, who has wor­ked on ma­ny fa­sci­na­ting pro­jec­ts in­clu­ding the oak fo­re­st sur­roun­ding the Na­tio­nal 9/11 Me­mo­rial, whi­ch is lo­ca­ted whe­re New York’s Twin To­wers on­ce stood. And li­ving trees al­so en­han­ce the ar­chi­tec­tu­re that em­bra­ces the in­tri­ca­te bran­ches and fo­lia­ge, espe­cial­ly the re­pea­ting pat­terns kno­wn as frac­tals, a sty­le com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent from the ty­pi­cal­ly flat li­nes in ur­ban stree­tsca­pes. Jean Nou­vel, among others, is a be­lie­ver. «Ve­ge­ta­tion is a way of de­ma­te­ria­li­zing the tra­di­tio­nal ri­gid sha­pes of mo­dern buil­dings», said the Fren­ch ar­chi­tect. Nou­vel has col­la­bo­ra­ted for years wi­th Pa­trick Blanc, the bo­ta­ni­st who crea­ted the fir­st green walls whi­ch add or­ga­nic li­fe to man-ma­de sur­fa­ces. «I ne­ver think of the land­sca­pe ar­chi­tec­tu­re as se­pa­ra­te from the buil­ding; it’s part of the ove­rall con­cept», said Nou­vel. For exam­ple, Ro­sewood is a re­si­den­tial buil­ding and ho­tel in the heart of São Pau­lo na­med for the wood that par­tial­ly co­vers it. Set to open next year, this com­plex is one of ma­ny ver­ti­cal gar­dens bloo­ming around the world that «can be a means for re­tur­ning to a lo­st way of li­fe», ex­plai­ned Nou­vel. Other land­sca­pe ar­chi­tec­ts are al­so in­cor­po­ra­ting lu­sh ur­ban oa­ses in­to their pro­jec­ts in de­ve­lo­p­ment. Ja­pa­ne­se ar­chi­tect Ken­go Ku­ma is de­si­gning an eco-lu­xu­ry ho­tel along Pa­ris’ Left Bank. The Dut­ch firm MVRDV and gar­den de­si­gner Piet Ou­dolf ha­ve joi­ned for­ces to con­struct Val­ley, a clu­ster of crag­gy, moun­tain-sha­ped buil­dings. And the Bri­ti­sh star­chi­tect Tho­mas Hea­ther­wick is

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