The Bartlett School of Architecture


Foster + Partners to 3D print structures on the moon

4 February 2013

Architects from Foster + Partners are working with the European Space Agency to explore the possibilities of 3D printing buildings on the moon using lunar soil.

Lunar 3d base

The practice has designed a four-person residence that would shelter its inhabitants from dramatically changing temperatures, meteorites and gamma radiation. It would be transported from Earth in an inflatable structure, then covered with a shell built by 3D printers. The printers, operated by robots, would use soil from the Moon, known as regolith, to build the layered cover. The proposed site for the building is the southern pole of the Moon

Working on the project is Xavier De Kestelier, a Tutor on the MArch GAD programme at The Bartlett School of Architecture and a Partner at Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group, he says:

“As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials – our lunar habitation follows a similar logic. It has been a fascinating and unique design process, which has been driven by the possibilities inherent in the material. We look forward to working with ESA and our consortium partners on future research projects.”

Image courtesy of Foster + Partners