Sustainable Moon Base

Moon Dust Building is a study made as part of the the 'Moon Life' project. It looked into the possibility of using motion capture to live sustainably on the Moon. A sustainable Moon base is one that is made from the Moon itself and one that uses play and spontaneous movement as an integrated part of the design. The Moon base would not be designed beforehand on Earth and not by architects and engineers drawing lines with the hand but would be designed by the astronauts themselves whilst on the Moon. Using their whole bodies and with sensors their movements would be registered by means of motion capture. This data would then direct a 3D printer robot to translate the captured movement using as a 3D digital model into a building.

Spontaneity and play is a pre-condition of sustainability.

As well as the planned tasks and set pieces that need to be performed astronauts would design by play and dance. Both consciously planned movements and unselfconsciously performed unplanned movements would be registered and form the design of the Moon base. By finding a balance between consciously performed tasks and unselfconsciously performed movement of play, a sense of awareness of the Moon base, not only as material artifact and a means to facilitate scientific investigation but also as an expression of a collective sense of self sufficiency, may be gained. The degree to which astronauts can shape and be in control of their own environment whilst on the Moon and in space has been shown to be beneficial for their well being in extended periods of space habitation.

Dancing your home into shape.

If motion capture technology is made readily available to the dweller on Earth then each dwelling would be a one-off designed by the movement of the dweller. The role of the architect then would be two fold. Firstly, the dweller is guided through a series of choreographies. This could be within the confines of their existing home if the dweller would like their new home to be a strong memory or ‘echo’ of their old home. Alternatively, they could go beyond the confines of home. A dancer could also be invited to perform movements on behalf of the dweller. Apart from facilitating the choreography, the architect’s role is one here of translating the motion capture data into a 3D digital model, where the pre-condition of drawing out plans and sections, whilst not being made redundant, is adapted so that there is a direct translation from dweller's movement to building.

However, the work also seeks to explore and define another role for the architect. If we assume the design of a dwelling is made through movement as described above and not through drawing, the difference between someone's movement as a reflection of everyday unconscious behaviour and the movement directed by the architect is the fact that the latter’s lines are drawn as projections of expected movement.

What kind of architecture would emerge if the dweller’s behaviour, thoughts, habits, sense of home were directly revealed where the architect plays a background role? This may take on many levels of meaning and form but in essence is a question of how explicitly the revealing happens and how the personal aspect of the design changes into something else. The design of the building therefore no longer ends with the boundaries of a drawing made by the hand of the architect. Indeed, it may be spoken of in terms of a drawing made by movements of the inhabitants through which the behaviour of those moving is translated into building.

When designing your home through your movement how then would your interaction with others effect your design? In other words how would many homes relate to each other and how would the notions of family, neighbour and the collective manifest themselves?

If places then, are delineated by movement and not by the outer limits to movement, the inhabitants shall be as wayfarers, leaving behind traces and trails as threads that are bound together to make knots. Where the lines of the dwellers are knotted tightly together then this shall be called home.
(see T. Ingold, 'Being Alive'.)


Part of Alicia Framis's, Moon Life Concept Store supported by the Fonds BKVB
3D models made in collaboration with FOC
Motion capture made in collaboartion with TNO Soesterberg and Xsens Technologies.

Published in Volume 25, 'Getting There, Being There'.


_registered by motion capture _translated using a pentagon _translated into a 3D model _translated into a 3D model _sliced in many sections _segmented _of sustainability _copyright NASA