Design Competition, Winner Goes to Mars
Calling all Planetary Designers.
Ames Design Group (ADG), the architecture and design firm responsible for the Terraced Greenhouse (the largest greenhouse on Mars), is kicking off a design competition on Earth. The goal of the competition is to develop a virtual design concept for an integrated park, library, and amphitheater on Mars—called Memorial Park—to honor the first Martian explorers and those who have died serving the scientific enterprise.
Memorial Park will be located in Kasei Valley and will have several interactive monuments dedicated to the first explorers. “We are looking for functional designs that commemorate humanity’s interplanetary achievements,” said ADG Chief Architect and Co-Founder Peter Ames. The winner of the competition will be provided a Mars Shuttle Ticket and the opportunity to be a designer for the ADG team on Mars.
50 Planetary Designers will be selected for the competition through an online application process. Once the designers are selected, they will have the opportunity to work inside ADG’s Mars virtual environment, or Virtual Space. A Virtual Space is a large, empty room fitted with sensors that use eye tracking to laser overlay a virtual environment onto the designer or observer’s field of vision. In addition to laser overlays, traditional hologram technology is used to render designs in 3D. Due to the wavelength constraints of a laser, Virtual Space does not have accurate color rendering.
Unlike most personal Virtual Spaces that are the size of an average bedroom, ADG’s Virtual Space spans the area of three football fields, built on a floating barge in South Brooklyn. ADG’s Virtual Space is the second largest in the world, behind LMU Munich’s own Virtual Space. Designers will create their concept entirely in VR and will map their designs to ADG’s Virtual Space. The proprietary technology in Virtual Space provides a simulation of critical environmental constraints on Mars such as gravity, construction aggregates, geological mapping, and mineralogy.
“Planetary designers come from many unique academic disciplines such as mechanical engineering, architecture, urban planning, geologists, and writers—they are often are humanity’s best minds” said Vhakish Perera, director of Planetary Urban Planning (PUP) at Columbia University, who will serve as one of the judges for the competition.
The design concepts will be judged by an industry panel and the general public. The industry panel consists of engineers, artists, and academics from ADG, Stanford University, Tsinghua University Beijing, Tayomi Design and several other renowned design firms and institutions. The general public on Earth may also vote for particular Memorial Park designs, which they can download and experience in their personal Virtual Spaces or VR/AR devices. The Martian public will be pleased to hear that they may also download and vote on the design submissions—and their votes will have double weighting. Once a winner is selected, his or her design will be as a free-public virtualization, on display for three months on ADG’s Virtual Space barge in Brooklyn—anyone can enter the Brooklyn barge and experience the design, as if they were on Mars.
“We are proud to give Martian citizens a chance to weigh in on what their future park should look like—our architects have always been at the cutting edge of community-informed design.” said Annabelle Skeeter, VP of Virtualization at ADG.
Applications are open from now until May 15th 2044/SOL 253. Residents of Earth with a MSTEP (Mars Science Technology Engineering Physics) degree are eligible to apply. The competition commences on June 1st 2044, Sol 264 in Brooklyn.