The results are finally in and the winners of the year’s most anticipated competition are finally here! Marstopia, the popular sequel to Eleven’s award-winning Moontopia challenge. The competition asked creatives from around the world to respond to one question: what does martian vernacular design look like?
Marstopia, Eleven’s 9th international competition, has been a highly successful competition which has reached all corners of the globe and exceeded our wildest expectations. Hundreds of participants have joined the challenge and have submitted mindblowing proposals of a consistently high standard that choosing the winners has been a challenge in itself.
Now, the jury has voted, and we are excited to announce the winners of this truly out of this world challenge.
Without further ado, we give you our winners!
‘Dandelion Shelter’ by Karl-Johan Sørensen & Sebastian Aristotelis Frederiksen (Denmark)
Every once in a while, great things really do come in small packages. Dandelion Shelter is an exquisitely detailed and refined design which comes to life through beautiful renders of life on Mars. Every detail of this project has been considered and conveyed through a masterclass of how to pitch your vision in architecture. Inspired by Dandelions, this self-building ‘fluffy’ martian shelter is clad with a glowing Triboelectric Harvester which transforms electrostatic energy into power and traps Martian dust as a radiation shield. The pod also employs an Algae Bath as a secondary radiation shield and food source for its inhabitants. Elegant, Smart and Protective: the perfect companion for a Martian adventure.
‘Mars H2.0’ by Aleksandar Bursac & Ivan Djikanovic (Serbia)
Mars H2.0 accurately emphasises our need to steadily test and push boundaries as a species. Behind the enticing visualisations, the fluid design – inspired by honeycombs – promises to be a hypothesis that would be able to persist in a hostile environment such as Mars. The project details a rocket ship which – upon landing – transforms itself into a vessel for habitation and a harvester of Martian water. Mars H2.0 isn’t just a dwelling, but a dynamic generator for life.
‘Desert Snowflake’ by Robert Salazar, Anastasia Prosina & Svetlana Krinochkina (USA, Russia)
This self-erecting, ultralight, deployable Geodesic Dome takes Buckminster Fuller’s ideas into the new Millenium. Desert Snowflake, the winner of the people’s votes, is an ode to architectural origami form. It showcases the value of flexible, lightweight yet highly-robust construction systems paramount for extraterrestrial colonisation. The spore-like structure has been designed with adaptability and modularity in mind, allowing for continued growth of the Martian colony in time.
‘The Peristalsis Project’ by Anastasia Prosina, Svetlana Krinochkina & Robert Salazar (Russia, USA)
The Peristalsis Project is an excellent example of nature-inspired design on a technological high. The star of the proposal is a mechanical caterpillar-like, ultralight inflatable structure which is half dwelling, half machine. The design can move around the landscape thanks to a belly of boron carbide scales and kinetic rod pistons enabling peristalsis locomotion through shape-memory tendons that contract its body. The movable architecture is also entirely self-reliant, capable of generating its own energy thanks to wind turbine systems harvesting the harsh storms of Mars.
‘Mars Paracity’ by Prerit Kaji, Arijit Sen & Jerrold Moses Ayque (India, Philippines)
Aside from the stunning visualisations, this project moves beyond a mere Martian colony into a critique of the human spirit. Dark, dystopic, but truthful, it makes us rethink our priorities for future interplanetary conquest and questions our moral compass. As the world prepares to colonise Mars, Mars Paracity forces us to take a moment to reflect on our true intentions, methods and reasons behind our needs to do so. The project is an architectural story which delves into the parasitic side of our human spirit, making us consider our conscience as a race to secure the future of humanity on earth and beyond.
‘TerraForMars’ by Adam Fernandez & Lizhen Xu (France)
This proposal of terraformation is trying to understand and solve one of the main problems for a fully breathable and livable Mars: the electromagnetic shield of the planet. It does so by disrupting the idea of ordinary domes in favour for more organic forms built by 3D printing drone robots. The result is the creation of an impressive geometry developed like a blanket, able to adapt to the orography of the planet. The outcome is an adaptable human-made atmosphere which both promotes terraforming and the advancement of two contemporary hot-technologies: 3D printing and drones.
‘Below Freezing’ by Shane Powers & Linjie Wang (USA, China)
The idea of using martian lava tubes as a basis for shelter recently became very popular in the debate of Martian colonisation. This project stands out from its competitors because of the thoroughly thought out mission steps and well-designed construction process of the sealing structures. Below Freezing outlines a relatively large and well-protected space that first explorers will have at their disposal. The best advantage of this idea is the Ice Tower. It is a creative combination of a skydome with a weather shield and a vertical transportation system integrated with it. The project highlights the use of delta 3D printing from above and melted ice as building blocks. It is a rational approach, which maximises the best opportunities from what local conditions can give. All this is presented through beautiful self-explaining renderings and drawings.
‘Hyperdome’ by Paolo Venturella & Cosimo Scotucci (Italy)
Hyperdome isn’t about creating a settlement on Mars; it’s about making Mars livable by completely transforming its environmental makeup through the construction of a human-made atmosphere. A very bold proposition which highlights the environmental impact human beings can cause on planets.
‘Dust to Dawn’ by Milad Moghary, Yibin Yang, Ismail Seleit & Matthias Wechsler (Iran, China, Egypt, Germany)
Dust to Dawn is a master plan for a time-driven Martian vernacular which seeks to create a model for a self-growing colonisation system on the red planet. As an ecology of infrastructures, multiple complex systems are overlaid on one another to produce a plan that outlines a multi-stage approach to the inhabitation of this foreign planet. The idea of a new vernacular colony is underlined by the concept of communal growth and the positive exploitation of resources found on Mars itself. The result is a resilient system of survival, able to expand organically, 3D printed from Martian compounds following the Fibonacci Sequence. The decision of representing the sequential growth of the colony in a diagrammatic single-drawing style sheet is a kind of martian ‘Where’s Wally?’, which asks the viewer to explore and discover the ethos surrounding this Martian concept in a fun and effective way.
‘Kloroplast Mars’ by Roger Badia Rafart (Spain)
Aside from the beautiful presentation which displays evident architectural craftsmanship, Kloroplast Mars defines a new start for humanity through a modular martian vernacular seeking to emphasise the core roots of what it means to dwell. We like the simplicity of this concept that by no means undermines the potential of this new martian architectural model. The construction system is clear and straightforward, which adds to the overall potential of this design. In a far frontier such as Mars, flexibility and adaptability are crucial to survival. This system provides this with beauty and style.
‘To Mars’ by Chawapol Watcharasukarn & Prapatsorn Sukkaset (Thailand)
Although the design can be said to be highly unrealistic, the idea of harnessing Earth’s waste to bring life on Mars is killing two birds with one (big) stone! After all, this is a competition about imagining Utopia, which in itself is rooted in ideas rather than realism. This proposal suggests an interesting dichotomy between the symbiotic relationship that Earth and Mars could have: each other benefitting from their disadvantages, working together to help one another survive. On earth, bronchi-like mega-towers suck out the pollutions and greenhouse gasses from our atmosphere. These get sent to Mars, where they are released into the red planet, beginning to form conditions conducive to life. Very conceptual, but graphically stunning, and with a vision that draws you in.
‘Clove’ by Justin Jed Zumel (USA)
An intelligent design for the first Martian explorers. Clove is one of the best examples from the competition which shows us how a landing module could transform and adapt itself to a living unit on Mars. But beyond the initial landing party design, Clove outlines a four-stage phased growth system which would eventually generate a breathable ecosystem for humans to live freely on Mars. Beautiful renders and fantastic detailing bring this project to a new level of realism.
‘Particle Regeneration’ by Chi Bhatia, Joanna Maria Lesna, Bryan Rincon & Wala’ Sahloul (India, Poland, Colombia, Syria)
Particle Regeneration is one of the few projects which tackles some of the most severe threats of Martian living – being the lack of water and the frequent violent sandstorms – and harnesses them to its advantage. “Forms follows environment” is the underlining thesis of this project. A real example of human ingenuity in turning adversities into opportunities, which comes to life in a functioning, sustainable vertical community inhabiting stunning architectural forms.
‘City Crater’ by Wenyi Zhu, Qizhen Tang & Xiaohan Ding (China)
It looks like Elon’s red Tesla is back, and this time it’s landing on Mars! But nevermind about Mr Musk’s space-car, City Crater is a vision of life on Mars which defines a vernacular urban model for the red planet. This concept imagines cities built into the rims of Martian craters, with a strong emphasis put on the refinement of Martian water in the pursuit of self-sustaining life. The ring-cities take a geological element and turn it into an architectural plinth, maximising on the in-situ geomorphology and minimising the visual impact of development on Mars despite the large-scale proposal. Did we already mention the red Tesla?
‘Leviathan 01’ by Gleb Goncharenko & Ksenia Zabardygina (Russia)
Project Leviathan 01 is a clever, feasible and organised overground concept. It’s functional and linkable block design allows for additional connections and extensions. Its modular nature provides a system that is allowed to grow, move and transform in time, reflecting the needs of its inhabitants. The design is made from a rigid-frame structure which creates both unity in style but also flexibility within, as it allows for a whole series of functions to inhabit it. We like the origami-like foldings that give the project it’s distinctive look, but also serve an essential role in adding strength to lightweight muli-core panels. The inspiration behind the ‘look’ is Leviathan, a once mythical creature believed to live on Mars. Now long dead, its bones are turned into architecture.
‘Colony’ by Bonnie Gordon (Australia)
When asked to imagine a colony on Mars, this project leaps forward beyond architectural form and into the very foundation of life itself. Based on Dr Michio Kaku’s scientific possibility that DNA originated on Mars and was brought to earth by galactic debris, and linking this theory with Dr Robert Zubrin’s observations that life on earth is responsible for terraforming our planet, this project introduces a natural process of Martian colonisation that surpasses the human species itself. How do you colonise Mars? You let Mars create it’s own life forms… with a little help from human science. Colony is about ensuring the process of life on Mars instead of planting an alien human settlement on its soil. Stunning concept. Stunning graphics. Utterly mesmerising. The idea that a colony on Mars should be about terraforming and create in-situ martian life rather than impose human domination is poetic, unique and highly original.
‘S.E.E.Ds of Mars’ by Nicholas Ho & Darren Chan (Hong Kong, UK)
The project’s opening narrative shows a deep understanding of the ‘why’ behind the mission and each step that follows from the technologically-based construction, through the various project stages, and the overall design concept carries the same force and determination on this singular mission. Most compelling is the new architectural and engineering language that is given birth and life in the illustrations and renders that are profoundly thoughtful and composed. This phased city, inspired by concepts derived from natural systems, includes the use of advanced robotics and drones.
Hungry for more visions of Marstopia?
We would like to thank our competition jury for working with us in this competition:
Andrew Aldrin (Son of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (Architect and Academic, IDEA Architecture Office), Jessie Andjelic (Founding Partner of SPECTACLE and Head of Mars Studio at the University of Calgary), Marc Guberman (Team Leader of the Mars Habitat Project and Partner at Fosters + Partners), Stefano Boeri (Founding Partner, Stefano Boeri Architetti), SEArch Architects (Awarded first place in NASA’s 3D Printed Mars Habitat Challange), Vera Mulyani (CEO and Founder, Mars City Design), ZA Architects (Directors and Co-Founders Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva), Monika Lipinska, Laura Olivier and Inci Ogun (Winners of Eleven’s Moontopia Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).
* Competition friend: Mars City Design