Galaxy Gadgeteers: Architects in Space

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M. S. Morris (2014), JBIS, 67, pp.272-278

Refcode: 2014.67.272
Keywords: Science Fiction, Architecture, Design, Dyson Sphere, NASA

This essay explores interdisciplinary themes finding links between architecture, science and science fiction. A character from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series is presented as an archetypical architect charged with designing planets. The author offers diverse examples of other architectural projects dealing with vast planetary and interplanetary scales. The design of space colonies within Dyson Spheres and Torus Rings is examined with an eye to precedents from architectural history. Speculative space colony designs pursued by NASA are critiqued as awkward assemblages of futuristic fantasy and nostalgia. Contemporary architectural projects are presented, revealing the scalar adaptability or looseness of certain architects with strong stylistic tendencies. The paper concludes by examining partly unrealized designs for an Enlightenment utopian town and how themes inspired by the image of the solar system move from spatial and formal arrangements to pictorial and metaphorical depictions.

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