Low Earth Orbit

Program: Off Planet Colony
Height: 2700 M
Length: 53,900 M
Year: 2014

The B.Arch Thesis aimed to create a design across three scales that take into the account complex social, political and economic systems at each level.  Scale 1 creates an urban master-plan for an off-planet colony, expanding infrastructure networks between Earth and Space, and establishes an economy of research, tourism, zero-g manufacturing and asteroid mining.
Scale 2 focuses on the architectural strategies and internal workings of human inhabitation is space.
While society is moving towards a dominance of profuse regulation and strict surveillance Scale 3, discreetly imbedded in the framework of Scale 2, designs a political/economic state of resistance.


The orbiting city is divided into six wings that rotate around a central core in order to simulate 1G.  The central core feels no gravitational force, and is the center of manufacturing.  While traveling from the core to the wings the force of gravity slowly increases.  The further away from the core axis the stronger the simulated force of gravity, rising to 1.5G in some areas.  Compression rings provide structure for the city and allow for circulation networks to connect the wings.  The wings host most of the program of the city; housing, offices, commercial, retail, public space, medical facilities, etc. 

Scale 2 focuses on a single sector of the colony, linking the widespread infrastructure networks with local commercial/ residential areas and public program developed around the new cosmic lifestyle of the people.  Its interior is designed as a modular frame system that could rapidly modify its program in response to the needs of the community.  The frame networks also develops a greater efficacy of space and stimulates social interaction.
Scale 3 focuses on the architecture through the scope and desires of the people inhabiting it, aiming to create an area that tolerates illicit activities and is kept inconspicuous from the authorities by imbedding itself among the existing urban networks.  The project aims to explore the conflict between authoritarian forces and individual oppositions prevalent in a radically new urban environment, and generate the architectural response to these complex socioeconomic conditions.  Its model of spatial intricacy is extrapolated from informal settlements like Kowloon Walled City, Chunking Mansions and Torre David, where byzantine internal circulation and a paucity of oversight allowed complex internal micro-economies and communities to develop.  The illicit program remains cryptic by deploying strategies that manipulate the interpretation of space in people striving to control it.  The actual physicality of the area is deceivingly different than what is perceived when passing through.  Strong reflections create false sense of depth and allow for concealed corridors.  The visual sight lines are carefully choreographed to create views of paths that seemingly connect which in reality are separate.  The circulation networks for the general population are designed to intersect with the resistance state only at certain covert controlled locations.  At other times the circulation networks pass underneath and along each other, but always remain inaccessible.