In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists-along with architects, urban planners, and artists-to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.
In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists-along with architects, urban planners, and artists-to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. This Summer Study was led by Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill, whose work on this topic had previously been funded by countercultural icon Stewart Brand's Point Foundation. Two painters, the artist and architect Rick Guidice and the planetary science illustrator Don Davis, created renderings for the project that would be widely circulated over the next years and decades and even included in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee. A product of its time, this work is nevertheless relevant to contemporary modes of thinking about architecture. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.
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We need utopian visions for the future of life on and beyond this planet. Scharmen's Space Settlements is an essential text in that project-opening up the possibility of developing radical, speculative visions for the future and pursuing them, not through the whims of benevolent billionaires, but through democratic means that enable us to learn from mistakes, not simply to reproduce them beyond the thermosphere. -- Billy Fleming * Public Books *
About Fred Scharmen
Fred Scharmen teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning. His work as a designer and researcher focuses on how architects imagine new spaces for speculative future worlds and who is invited into those worlds. Recent projects, with the Working Group on Adaptive Systems, include a mile-and-a-half long scale model of the solar system in downtown Baltimore (in collaboration with nine artists), and a pillow fort for the Baltimore Museum of Art based on Gottfried Semper's Four Elements of Architecture.
Space Settlements by Fred Scharmen
Columbia Books on Architecture and the City
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