Gold inflatable ‘martian house’ designed to withstand life on Mars unveiled by Bristol artists

It’s the first Martian home to receive a building consent

A gold inflatable ‘Martian House’ designed to withstand life on Mars has been unveiled in Bristol.

The space-age home is the first Martian home to receive a building consent, designers say.

The building is designed to be lightweight to withstand the environmental challenges that would be faced on Mars - such as temperatures of -63C.

The unique project brought together by artists, scientists, architects, engineers and the public will be in place in Bristol for five months.

As part of a group of construction companies led by Southern Construction Framework Construct (SCF), BAM, Galliford Try, ISG, Kier, Morgan Sindall, SCF Construct, Sir Robert McAlpine, Wates and Willmott Dixon donated time, expertise and resources worth an estimated £170,000 to bring the art project to life.

It comes after the architects behind the British Antarctic Survey station were given planning permission in 2020.

The home includes everything for a Life On Mars - including Martian clothes, toothbrush and wallpaper.

The focus is on creating items that are easy to repair, multi-functional and contribute zero waste and is designed to inspire sustainable living.

The impressive house is part of a five year project led by artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent.

The Bristol-based artists, who admit they have worked with everyone from school children to rocket scientists, said: “This project is a place for research and experiments about the future.

The house will be open for public viewings later this month.

“Using Mars as a lens because of its resource limited nature helps focus our conversations around what we need and how we want to live.

“We’re really excited for the public to come along and see some of the research that’s happening in the house - as well as coming on a viewing to see what we’re making for the interiors, there are special opportunities to come to workshops with other artists around hydroponics and textiles.

“We hope everyone finds something they are interested in - the aim is to spark conversations that go beyond the project, rather than providing all the answers”.

Despite working with a “fraction of Nasa’s budget”, the two-storey dwelling contains a hydroponic living room, where occupants are surrounded by plants to “aid relaxation” and “support a healthy diet.”

It also features flexible, private living space and virtual reality rooms.

The impressive house is part of a five year project led by artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent.

The upper level, designed to sit on a Martian landscape, is made from inflatable gold-coated foil which is light enough to transport to Mars and can be filled with Martian soil to provide protection from radiation.

The lower level is designed to be built below ground within the lava tubes that exist beneath the planetary surface.

It also contains the environmental control room with all the life support systems powering the house - two compact bedroom ‘pods’, along with a shower and a ‘Martian loo’ with low water use.

Hugh Broughton, director at Hugh Broughton Architects, said: “This is the first Martian House to receive a building consent and it is so exciting to see it built in Bristol.

Would you live here?

“The design draws upon principles developed for extreme environments on earth overlayed with solutions to the logistic and environmental challenges of building on Mars, which we have developed with the help of space scientists.

“It has been a triumph of collaboration with so many specialists, designers, engineers and builders giving their time for free, demonstrating what can be achieved with a collective will and effort.

“The project provides an alternative approach to space design which represents the interests of everyone, not just governments and the super-rich.”

In terms of building the structure, construction procurement framework SCF contributed with the build and materials.

Company senior framework manager Emma Bull said: “Working together and throwing their weight behind the Martian House project, speaks volumes about our partners’ commitment to unite in support of the communities where they work and make a positive difference to public spaces.”

Contractors led by the Southern Construction Framework donated time, expertise and resources to the art project

The interior design of the Martian House will be developed with a group of volunteers and plans to come to life over the lifespan of the project.

Dr Robert Myhill, Lecturer in Earth and Planetary Science, University of Bristol said: “The Martian House is a truly remarkable project grounded in decades of scientific knowledge and engineering innovation.

“Mars would be an exceptionally challenging environment to travel to and live in, and the house provides an inspiring vision of how we might work together to deal with those challenges.

“The project is also a rare opportunity to reimagine how technology can work for us; not just so that we can exist, but so that we can live happy and fulfilling lives, wherever we are in the universe.”

The house has partnered with Bristol Museum M Shed - and its opening coincides with the museum’s new exhibition ‘Think Global: Act Bristol’, which aims to foster positive action to address the climate and ecological crises.

The house will open for public viewings every Wednesday and Saturday from 31 August - 16 October and will be hosting a series of drop-in interactive workshops.

Full details of all events taking place are available here: buildingamartianhouse.com.