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Mars Habitat




315 m² *

Type: Habitat competition

Architecture: GRUNER&SKREIN

Program: Research facility

The pneumatic ice umbrella protects the pioneers from the environment on Mars.


It was the vision to create a self-sustaining Martian habitat for a group of 5 researchers. These researchers will further explore the red planet and understand its resources to validate the idea of life on Mars.

Due to the particularly hazardous climate, numerous factors were taken into consideration; Radiation protection, internal climate control, space for habitation for a year, sustainable energy solution and water+oxygen harvesting. The location of the site, near the polar caps which hold natural frozen water, was paramount to our concept.


Umbra symbolizes the original intent of an umbrella by protecting the traveler from harmful environments.

The compact pneumatic structure is brought to Mars where the folded structure opens and is filled with air generated on site. Thereon the dome is covered with Martian ice to create additional natural thermal insulation and protect from harmful radiation.


In order to efficiently use the circular floor space, a semi open floor plan was created. The centralized interaction zone was merged with general research areas to create a collaborative environment for the researchers.

Private and living areas with kitchen, sanitation and smaller labs wrapped the central space encouraging circular movement while remaining compact and efficient. The outer parts of the dome consisted of a self-sustaining greenhouse ring to simulate earth like habitation for the researchers and two airlock bunkers in case of emergency.

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