Life on Mars


Collaborating with Lydia Kallipoliti and Jestin George, ‘Life on Mars’ is an attempt to design the engineering flow chart.  This drawing is a historical first, designing a closed-loop system for Mars habitation.  Exhibited in the London Design Museum.


“The colonisation of Mars demands the separation and protection of humans inside a closed life-support system: a self-sustaining physical environment separated from its surroundings by a boundary that does not allow for the transfer of matter or energy. Closed systems enable scarce resources – water and oxygen – to be reused and recycled by being extracted, filtered and recirculated; most importantly, though, they convert waste into new viable commodities. Nevertheless, engineered closed-loop systems, which are mostly portrayed in simulations as robust circular systems, where waste equals food in an endless series of cycles and subcycles, are fragile and vulnerable because they depend on subtle biological interactions and the digestion of resources.” “‘Life on Mars’ is an attempt to design the engineering flow chart, used for portraying life support systems almost exclusively using boxes and arrows. Here, the machines that convert waste to viable resources are not “black boxes”- adjunct apparatuses hidden behind living quarters; instead, they are profusely lived in and exhibited as vital spatial elements. The logic of material conversions generates new spatial alliances between a toilet and a garden; a bioreactor and a bathroom; a kitchen and a laboratory; a bed and a virtual reality pleasure dome and other pairings. ‘Life on Mars’ suggests a Martian colony as a digestive inhabitable machine that captures output and converges it to various usable forms; it also proposes an integrated system where humans, their physiology of ingestion and excretion, become combustion devices and biological parts of the system they inhabit.” Words by Lydia Kallipoliti.


Location: London, UK

Client: London Design Museum

Year: 2019

Status: Completed

Program: Interplanetary Habitation Closed-loop system, Interplanetary Masterplan, Research, Exhibition

Team: Beau Avedissian & Kalo Huang (HyperArchitects design team); Lydia Kallipoliti (Architect & Engineer); Jestin George (Genetic Engineer Project Consultant); Project Team (extended): Ka Hou Cheang, Dorsa Fahandezh, Mariam Mesiha & Isabella Wells.