A Martian House is being built next to Wapping Wharf - but what is it?

As a full-scale Martian House gets into the full flow of its build, we delve into what exactly it is, where it’s come from and what people can expect

A house, designed to be lived in on a future Mars, is currently being built in the square next to the M Shed, beneath the backdrop of Wapping Wharf.

Due to open on 17 August, the art exhibition is part of an ongoing public art project and accompanies Think Global, a new exhibition exploring Bristol’s role in the climate and ecological emergencies opens at M Shed this week.

Think Global: Act Bristol looks at the big environmental questions affecting people in the city and presents perspectives from a wide range of local voices.

Art commissions are spreading across the city, aimed to help you visualise the seven themes of the exhibition - power, technology, consumption, nature, health, justice, and future.

You’ll find the build taking place next to the M Shed and Wapping Wharf

Having launched last week, the exhibition examines how we might harness the power of collective thought and action.

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Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy, said: “The launch of Think Global: Act Bristol this week is coinciding with the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the UK.

“It has never been more important to talk about the climate and ecological emergencies that we’re facing. Through innovative art installations and fascinating historical objects, Think Global: Act Bristol takes on the big questions - how did we get here?

“Everyone is invited to join the discussion and contribute a vision of a future Bristol so we can fulfil our climate and nature recovery ambitions. Whether you’re an activist, a scientist, or just feeling anxious and overwhelmed by it all, we hope everyone will leave the exhibition feeling more confident in their power to make change.”

So, where does the Martian House fit into all this, exactly?

Building a Martian House has brought together space scientists, architects, engineers, designers, school children and the public to explore how we live today and stimulate visions for new ways of living on Earth and on Mars.

Building a Martian House has brought together space scientists, architects, engineers, designers, school children and the public

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Conceived and led by local and Watershed Pervasive Media Studio residents Ella Good and Nicki Kent,  in collaboration with Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+, the project will host a three-month programme of workshops, talks and events for children and adults alike.

The website for the project states that “Mars is a place where you’d have to live carefully and resourcefully.

“Imagining how a small community would live there offers a sharp lens on our lives here on Earth today and our fraught relationship with consumerism.”

The Martian House ​​will start as an empty shell that comes to life with changing interiors that will be created over time by artists, volunteers and an interiors team.

The idea of the project is to explore together what a new, sustainable culture might look like. It provides a place to research and experiment. A blank canvas to try things out and imagine new futures in relation to our lives today.

Currently, ahead of opening, the Martian House is inviting the people of Bristol to get involved with designing the interiors.

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Working with the lead artists, you can help create the interiors of the house – from colours, fabrics and art on the walls to what the objects of everyday living in a zero waste environment might look like.

The intriguing sculpture sits with Wapping Wharf as the backdrop

So, what can people expect from the art installation and Britain’s first Martian House when it opens for public tours and inside explorations on 31 August?

There’ll be items such as a Martian toothbrush or Martian clothing, to a recipe book, and even a pedal powered washing machine. The house is designed to be a prototype, taking into account the real environmental conditions on Mars.

Artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent, said: “Mars is a place where you would have to live carefully and resourcefully.

“By imagining how a small community would live there, it offers a sharp lens on our lives here on Earth and our fraught relationship with consumerism.

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“Our Martian house will start as an empty shell that comes to life with changing interiors as we explore together what a new, sustainable culture might look like. It’s a blank canvas to try things out and imagine new futures in relation to our lives today.”