Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2020

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Jeffrey Collins

Secondary Advisor

Elizabeth Martin


With tech giants like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Lockheed Martin teaming with NASA to spearhead the mission to Mars, this provides an opportunity for architecture and design to engage in the conversation of the inevitable future of space exploration.

Research will explore structure, module and habitat as a means of developing an adaptive and parametrically designed dwelling for the first astronauts that will land on Mars. This thesis explores the intersection of the physical built environment and the psychology of astronauts in a remote, foreign and harsh environment. How can a shelter provide the essential needs to inhabit Mars while allowing humans to thrive both psychologically and physically?

A biomimetic method will be explored concerning structure, through an investigation of previous research on the anatomical stability of lightweight structures which occur naturally such as cancellous bones, foams, and bubbles. The structure will subsequently inform the module which will be designed on the surface of Mars. The use of in-situ resources like the abundant Martian regolith available to astronauts by the agency of robotic arms for an additive method of fabrication will ensure formation of strong sustainable structures.

Approaches such as human-centered design will be the driving forces that inform the volumes and spaces inside the dwelling. The structure and module will inspire the habitat, that responds to the harsh Mars environment (surface pressure, relentless dust storms, decreased gravity, etc). The habitat will then be iterated according to these conclusions with infinite outcomes that support the parametricism, flexibility, and individuality of the architecture.

All of this will be conducted while simultaneously studying the site, program, and form to uncover the connection between the built environment and its effect on psychology and solve the basic problems of living in a foreign environment.