Change is inevitable and constant. The concept of change has been in discussion for a few hundred years when people have been capable of observing a change for themselves. With the technological growth in the recent past, the change is even more apparent. Periodically, Have I been wondering about the encouraged large-scale futuristic change in architecture? Of course, In the age of Mars being a potential astrological haven, as we know, only less than 50 per cent of all previous Mars landing attempts have succeeded and by completely ignoring the infinite problems of earth, and the earth itself for now. Let us explore the early stages of Mars explorations which are exponentially growing and recognized by different communities every crossing year. 

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Mars Utopia by IDEA Architecture Office _©Alberto Villanueva Galindo

The aim for us to proceed to become “multi-planetary species” as proposed by Elon Musk claims SpaceX is almost ready to start building a permanent human settlement on Mars with its extensive Starship rocket.

In 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover, China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter and rover, and the United Arab Emirates‘ Hope orbiter are all launching to collect samples and broaden the research. The advent of cutting-edge technology and ultra-realistic science has allowed industrialists, architects, and thinkers a scope to tackle the strenuous task of terraforming the red planet for human habitat. 

Mars Habitat by Foster + Partners | Future on Mars


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Foster and Partners New York displayed their concept for a space camp on Mars. It consists of a settlement built by pre-programmed and semi-autonomous robots. The conceptual design of the habitat carried out in collaboration with industrial and academic partners envisions a robust 3D-printed dwelling for up to four astronauts constructed using native Martian rocks that could house up to four inhabitants.

Mars Science City by BIG + Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre 

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©BIG-bjarke ingels group

In 2018, MARSHA presented AI SpaceFactory’s Mars habitat design illustrated using 3D printing methods as well as robotics technology. The building material also combines the basalt from the surface of Mars with vegetable-based bioplastic to make it durable. These discoveries examine the conventional image of “space-age” domes by focusing on spaces tuned to both recognized and anticipated physical and psychological demands of a Mars mission.

Mars X – House V2 BY SEArch+

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MARS X HOUSE applies an evidence-based design process to include the design and constructability of a future habitat for a crew of four on Mars for the duration of one Earth year. MARS X HOUSE is created to withstand radiation standards to assure human health and vitally combines the crew with natural light and the Martian landscape

Mars Colonization by ZA Architects | Future on Mars

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©ZA Architects

By using robotics and local materials, ZA Architects proposes an idea of forming large caverns in the planet’s basaltic rock surface to house a basalt processing plant, along with an artificial underground glacier that supplies oxygen and water to the inhabitants, as part of their Mars Colonization Project. The concept is to split construction works into the creation of an overall big shell – that will be equipped with residential, technical, and other units.

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge by Hassell Studio

©Hassell Studio

In 2018, Hassell Studio collaborated with Eckersley O’Callaghan for the NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. The project claims to be a habitat that goes far beyond just ticking the boxes of safety and survival. This concept of human-centric space design tends to focus more on efficiency and output rather than comfort. The exterior consists of a regolith framework and the interior are made up of inflatable pods that contain all essentials.

Mars Utopia by IDEA Architecture Office

©Alberto Villanueva Galindo

Alberto Villanueva from IDEA Architecture Office proposed a project exploring the large-scale architecture indications of applying radical water weather technologies to the task of landscape remediation, creating an ecosphere that we need to generate life. That is, native Martian materials are combined with mycelium and fungus, which are known for their high construction capacity and ability to survive extreme conditions, to produce a thin, protective atmospheric layer that keeps the inhabitants comfortable. Also, discusses how bioluminescent bacteria can act as a source of light on Mars.

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge by Team Zopherus | Future on Mars


In 2018, The Zopherus Project presented their NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Project. The concept includes using a moving printer that deploys rovers to retrieve local materials, by creating 3D hexagonal structures within its pressurized cabin using the same technology without any human interference.

As an effort of change from abstract visions toward practical design. The compilation of projects exhibits how we are a long way from visiting mars much less inhabiting it. As the initial red planet pioneers and companies like SpaceFactory must be funded for their efforts while exploring our barren celestial neighbours should be a priority as they are one of the significant aspects of civilization. We should continue our exploration and further scientific research. However, I wonder if these efforts and design challenges could coexist with the same large-scale climate change initiatives before we reach the point of no return. In recent times, we witnessed squelched economic and social activities worldwide, in turn, curbed carbon output. The relevancy of the need is unquestionably compelling. It is concerning not to see similar collective imagination, financial assistance, and ingenuity to restore planet Earth while keeping up the fight for sustenance. Moving to mars is honestly exciting but tenuous. We are supposed to be explorers, first, however, let us make life on Earth feasible for all, yes, I meant all.

With these increasing effectiveness and clarity through new technologies on design prototypes, It is imperative to pick the obsession and prioritize the fight for space.

References 2021. BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021].

Hassell. 2021. Hassell | NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021].

NASA. 2021. Latest Updates from NASA on 3D-Printed Habitat Competition. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021].

Space Exploration Architecture. 2021. Mars X-House V2 — Space Exploration Architecture. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021].

Vimeo. 2021. MARS UTOPIA (Teaser). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021]., F., 2021. Mars Habitat | Foster + Partners. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021].

Жуйков, А., 2021. mars colonization. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2021].


Spoorthi Nagaraj is a freshly graduated architect who is intrigued about urban studies and sociology. She is an architect by the day and a writer by the night. Her passion towards equity, resilience and sustenance is what flows through the content she writes.