An out of this world challenge...

In 1969, the space race peaked with the success of the Apollo 11 mission bringing the first man to walk on the moon.

Today, nearly half a century later, new technological advances and a renewed desire to explore space are igniting a new race. This time, however, we are tired of just walking.

We want to inhabit! But how?

This was the premise of MOONTOPIA, Eleven's first international ideas and design competition on space architecture.

For this challenge, we asked thinkers, architects, designers, artists, academics and visionaries from around the world to imagine innovative solutions for Moontopia - the first ever self-sufficient lunar colony designed for living, working, researching and - why not - a little space tourism too...

An Award-Winning Challenge: Moontopia is an award-winning international competition which arrived in 7th place in Bustler's 'Top-10 Best Competitions of 2016'. It has been widely published around the world, including in leading magazines like ArchdailyDezeenDesignboom, the AJ and the Architecture Review.


Lunar Test Lab

Monika Lipinska, Laura Nadine Olivier & Inci Lize Ogun
(Poland / Germany / Italy-Turkey)

Testlab is the future of lunar living and space exploration. The concept of the lunar Testlab is simple – gradually populate the moon over time. This will happen in the space of several years, beginning with a simple, singular settlement at its commencement that will be solely inhabited by a set number of astronauts. As the settlement begins to evolve and grow over time, more people will be able to inhabit the settlement. As the Testlab becomes autonomous and more established, ordinary people, like you and me, will be able to travel to the moon and participate in the growth…

runner up


Sergio Bianchi, Jonghak Kim, Simone Fracasso & Alejandro Jorge Velazco Ramirez
(Italy / South Korea / Peru)

The moon has abundant resources on the moon could be investigated and exploited. It is nonetheless important that the moon itself has always had a significant meaning to us, and therefore its original state must be highly respected and preserved as much as possible. Creating a livable space on the surface of the moon would require substantial amount of drastic changes which are time consuming, inefficient and therefore irrational. It is therefore we propose a space station not built directly on the surface but orbiting around the moon with a cable linked to the surface, a station that makes possible…

Honourable Mentions:

Platinum City

Sean Thomas Allen

Inhabitants: 3000 permanent ‘post-human moon citizens’. Size: Currently spanning 7km from the city to the space elevator port and growing. Awaiting teraforming landscape update and expansion of the drone membrane artificial atmosphere. Details: Born at the advent of the worlds first post-human industry of asteroid mining, sat proudly upon the moons equator in the depths of a magnificent asteroid crater lies Platinum City. The worlds first self-sufficient lunar colony is a city fathomed as an organic computer, with its grandiose, drone crafted asteroid regolith architectures engorged on wet technologies and anchored to the platinum rich Rosetta Asteroid by a fragile…

Upside Down

Ryan Tung Wai Yin, Ho Wing Tsit Teresina & Joshua Ho
(Hong Kong)

The scarcity of habitation on Earth has pushed humans towards the skies. It would be an eventuality that we would break beyond the confines of our own atmosphere in search of new resources. Settlement on the moon may well be an answer to the countdown towards Earth’s final breath. Architecture may bring us to places of multiple planes, multiple dimensions and multiple worlds. The moon itself contains no delight for anyone to actually live there without massive intervention. Though in the end, it is but a stepping stone towards the ultimate destination of Mars. Stage 1: Rebirth Initial research teams…

Looking through the Moon

Yiling Chu, Yao Ding, Yan-Fei Jiang & Hui Tian

The surface of moon is filled with thousands of craters, with diameters ranging from a few km to a few hundreds km. These craters provide natural base as well as protections for the buildings. Particularly the craters near the South Pole, will receive almost uninterrupted solar radiation at the surface and have small temperature fluctuations. It is also believed that water exists in some of the craters in the South Pole, which is crucial for the living of people. The protective cover for each crater with parabolic shape will also serve as telescopes to observe the university. They can reach…


Prapatsorn Sukkaset & Saran Chamroonkul

Due to this tiresome world, we are now living in; some seek for sanctuary, or probably an escape from oneself, and the gruesome state of mind that one tries to escape, the boredom that can’t be cured. Here, our Moontopia invites all these suffering individuals for an escape from oneself. Moontopia would like to bring you back to where it all begins. We stand upon the concept of total emptiness, a form of environment which somehow does not take you back to the beginning of how things were formed but on how things exists but has none the less meaning…

The Aerosphere

Stephanie Stiers

The Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite. It is where humans took our first interplanetary steps and it now stands as a piece of our history. Though the moon is conveniently close to the Earth, the moon is not currently equipped to handle long term human habitation. As humanity continues to investigate the potential for permanent colonization on other worlds in our solar system, the Aerosphere is designed to allow short term trips for the average Earthling to escape daily stress and to experience all the views and activities the Moon has to offer. The suggested temporary solitary living provides…

LUNAR OASIS: Where Space Becomes Place

Edward Chew

This proposal is based on a hypothetical scenario that takes place 140 years after man’s first landing on the Moon. This period marks the beginning of the third wave of human colonization and the dawn of the Spacefaring Age. As is often the case in any human settlement, growth and expansion would ensue with time once the basic functional provision of shelter is met. Subsequently, the psychological and physiological aspects of people’s well-being in relation to the built environment would eventually take priority. The Year 2110: The Making of Lunar Oasis After decades of mining and living in a sterile…

people's choice


Alessandro Giorgi, Cai Feng, Siyuan Pan & Esteban Analuiza
(Italy / China / Ecuador)

Our proposal is based on a simple, economical and sustainable system of settlement on the moon. We have designed a unique form which, according to a so-called aggregation system Weair-Phelan structure, gives shape to an organic landscape which will accommodate future residents. The Weaire-Phelan foam consists of dodecahedrons wonky with pentagonal faces and tetradecahedrons with two hexagonal and 12 pentagonal faces. The structure based on this unique geometry would be highly repetitive and constructible while it looks very organic and random. This system allows us to build a modular system, simple but at the same time functional with the minimum…


Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea founded Eleven Magazine in 2015 and currently works as its Editor in Chief and Creative Director.

He was born in Bologna in 1984 and spent his childhood and teen years growing up in Italy, Hungary, Russia and Austria. At the age of 17 he moved to the UK to pursue his higher education in Architecture.

Andrea holds a BA (Hons) Architecture degree (2006), a Diploma in Architecture (2009), and in 2010 was awarded a fully-funded doctorate studentship, which he successfully completed with a PhD in Architecture and Urban Regeneration in 2014.

His architecture career has seen him active in both research, academia and practice. He has worked for Grimshaw Architects in London and taught at University in both undergraduate and post-graduate levels on subjects ranging from architecture/urban history and theory, sustainable design, emergent architectural trends, modular/movable architecture, responsive dynamic design, and nature-inspired design.

Andrea is a full member of the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors).

In parallel to Eleven, Andrea works as a freelance designer and architect on experimental projects and international collaborations.

In his spare time Andrea enjoys traveling, photography and (English weather permitting) riding around on his motorcycle avoiding woodland creatures on country lanes.

ASPECT Studios

Winners of Eleven's 'San Francisco 2016' Competition

ASPECT Studios

Winners of Eleven's 'San Francisco 2016' Competition

"We are looking for an elegant proposition for the occupation of space.  A thoughtful and self-sufficient, closed loop system that has the opportunity to evolve with its inhabitants.  Consider more than the immediate human needs and take us to a place of inspiration- where technology becomes almost magical, nature is embraced and we all thrive."

ASPECT Studios are Landscape Architects who design places where people want to be.

We are globally recognised for our innovative design of public spaces which prioritise the human centred creation of place and uplift the quality of public life in our cities.

Founded in 1993, ASPECT Studios is a peer and industry recognised leading landscape architectural design practice in Australia. We are renowned for creating site specific, innovative and robust public realm places.

ASPECT Studios has offices located in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Shanghai. With over 150 people, ASPECT Studios is an Australian owned business with an award winning industry and leading track record both for the projects that we design and also for the way that we think.

ASPECT Studios is delivering innovation in its projects on a range of scales - from the strategic and master planning to the detailed human scale. We invest research into human behaviour and in turn utilise this to design projects which are geared towards multiuse, flexibility, and providing a high degree of social infrastructure and public benefit.

Alberto Villanueva Galindo

Founder, IDEA Architecture Office

Alberto Villanueva Galindo

Founder, IDEA Architecture Office

“I am looking for a proposal that understands that we can go beyond our limits. A design that could inspire people to believe in the new possibilities of architecture. Embracing Vitruvius’s words, demonstrating that an architect is not just a simple designer. Architects are creators, and understand the human needs, we are providers. To participate in this competition, you need to think outside the box. The design should understand both the very real technical challenges of living beyond in the outer space, and the human limits in the journey.”

Villanueva is a Spanish architect in London, UK.  Master in Architecture (Madrid, Spain) and MA in Environment Design at Ravensbourne (London, UK), where he took interdisciplinary studios that allowed him to incorporate new interactive and digital elements and specialised in new prototyping methods like 3D printing.

During the last year, he has developed a project researching the possibilities of 3D printers and new materials in the colonization of Mars. A proposal that embraces a solution for the overpopulation on Earth and how to generate architectures in extreme environments. His project was noted by The Royal Academy of Arts and featured in publications like Dezeen, Designboom, Archdaily, The Spaces and DesignCurial.

Currently, he is a Tutor of Critical Practice for Postgraduate Courses and Sessional Lecturer in Contextual Studies for Undergraduate Courses at Ravensbourne, where he has founded his architecture firm called IDEA architecture office. His practice is a combination of academic, research and private practice. Alberto defines this model as a process of continuous learning and generation of contemporary needs. His practice emerges out of a careful analysis about the changes and evolution of the current life. He creates architecture by mixing conventional elements with unexplored fields in architecture.


Buckminster Fuller Institute


Buckminster Fuller Institute

Buckminster Fuller was a 20th century inventor and visionary who did not limit himself to one field but worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems. Fuller’s ideas and work continue to influence new generations of designers, architects, scientists and artists working to create a sustainable planet. By facilitating convergence across the disciplines of art, science, design and technology, the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) extends the profoundly relevant legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller. BFI strives to catalyze the collective intelligence required to fully address the unprecedented challenges before us. BFI’s programs combine unique insight into global trends and local needs with a comprehensive approach to design. We encourage participants to conceive and apply transformative strategies based on a crucial synthesis of whole systems thinking, Nature’s fundamental principles, and an ethically driven worldview. The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is BFI’s flagship program, offering an annual $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Brent Sherwood

Space Architect & Program Manager, NASA

Brent Sherwood

Space Architect & Program Manager, NASA

"Only twelve explorers have ever set foot on the Moon. A planet full of resources just three days distant, the Moon continues to beckon as the first beachhead where we can learn to industrialise space, generate unlimited wealth, and build communities off Earth. Moontopia can showcase innovative ideas for how to begin this chapter of humanity’s expansion beyond our cradle."

Brent is a space architect with 27 years of professional experience in the space industry.

He is currently Program Manager for planetary mission formulation at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), responsible for a portfolio of teams that create and propose mission concepts to NASA for scientific exploration throughout the solar system. At JPL for 11 years, he held prior positions as the first manager of the JPL Innovation Foundry, and Manager of Opportunity Development for the Laboratory.

Before coming to JPL, he was at The Boeing Company for 17 years in Alabama, Seattle, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington DC. He led teams in concept engineering for human exploration of Mars and the Moon, in manufacturing engineering of the ISS modules, and in program development for multiple commercial and space science projects and opportunities including Sea Launch, Bigelow modules on the ISS, Mars Sample Return, and the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter.

He holds a B.A. in liberal arts from Yale, a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture, and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland, where he was a NASA Graduate Student Research Fellow.

He has published and presented over 50 papers on the exploration, development, and settlement of space; and co-wrote and co-edited the book Out of This World: The New Field of Space Architecture.

Christina Ciardullo

Space Architect & Academic, Carnegie Mellon University

Christina Ciardullo

Space Architect & Academic, Carnegie Mellon University

"I am looking for a design that understands both the very real technical challenges of living beyond our atmosphere, and the very real human purpose in the journey; that understands why we are going just a much as how we could achieve that; that clearly constructs its assumptions and its mission; that both builds on current design methods and re-invents them; that both respects science and imagines its possibilities; that inspires both the dream and real investment; where the science and engineering support a whole systems architecture for human life-cycle beyond the ecosystem in which it evolved, while helping us on earth to re-envision how we might co-exist better within it."

Christina Ciardullo has a background in astronomy and philosophy and has held research positions at Columbia University’s Space Architecture Lab, the Habitability Design Center at NASA Johnson Space Center, as well as the Ann Kalla Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University where she taught interdisciplinary studios designing closed-loop sustainable ecosystems for Mars. Her terrestrial practice focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to integrating the built and natural worlds at the NYC Department of City Planning and the architectural practice of Ennead Architects and helped guide her as one of the 2016 Buckminster Fuller Institute Fellows. In her work off the planet, she has consulted in the extraterrestrial endeavors of Foster+Partners and is a founding member of SEArch which recently took 1st place in NASA’s Centennial Challenge to 3Dprint a habitat on Mars.

Kriss J. Kennedy

Space Architect, NASA

Kriss J. Kennedy

Space Architect, NASA

"I am looking for design entries that communicate a vision, fosters innovation and creativity, and promotes sustainability. The design should be inspirational, reasonable, achievable, and not break the laws of physics."

Kriss is a licensed architect in Texas and has been working at NASA since 1987. He is a recognized exploration habitat expert at NASA and with the international community. He has published over 50 papers in the field of aerospace industry since 1988. Prior to NASA, Mr. Kennedy worked in numerous architectural firms around the United States. Mr. Kennedy is currently working in the Human Health and Performance Directorate (HH&P) at NASA-JSC. He is the HH&P & Human Research Program (HRP) lead (point of contact) for the Proving Grounds - Futures Capabilities Definition Study (the CisLunar Habitat System definition). Mr. Kennedy is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston – Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. Mr. Kennedy has held key leadership and management positions such as Deputy Project Manager of the Deep Space Habitat project, Manager of the Habitat Demonstration Unit Project, supported the Constellation Lunar Surface Systems Habitation Team, and Lunar Architecture Team. Mr. Kennedy provides leadership, project management, strategic planning, space architecture and space habitat expertise for future human exploration missions DDT&E. He has dedicated his career to the definition, development, and testing of exploration habitation systems and planetary surface base definition for the human exploration of Space, the Moon, and Mars.