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  • Moon Seed

    Moon Seed
    boston MASSACHUSETTS

    LUNAR CRATER CULTURAL CENTER COMPETITION
    First place — $1200

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project:

    james LENG: MOON SEED is a speculative proposal that attempts to situate a Lunar Crater Cultural Center along a continuous timeline of human space development. This Lunar development is not the beginning, nor the final goal of humanity’s presence on the moon; it is merely a point-in-time of a perpetual, phased-project to expand human presence extra-terrestrially.

    A Joint Venture
    The challenge of creating a cultural center on the moon is that it cannot exist independently, but rather it must co-exist with other programs already in place that can initiate and sustain inhabitation. Given the increase of privatized space ventures at the beginning of the 21st century, the proposed Lunar settlement would likely be a cooperation between government, scientific, and commercial enterprises. This proposal envisions that a permanent settlement on the moon is a byproduct of a joint venture between three agendas: resource extraction, scientific research and exploration, and lastly, inhabitation and the associated leisure and recreation. There also exists a larger, collective dream to transform the moon’s surface into an Earth-like environment, with a breathable atmosphere capable of sustaining life.

    A Generative, Phased Infrastructure
    The proposal imagines the deployment of a large scale pod [MOON SEED] into the center of the crater site, a sort of infrastructural seed that contains everything that is needed to propogate a permanent lunar settlement. To achieve that end, SEED creates self sustaining energy with an integrated nuclear fusion reactor that runs on helium-3, an element more plentiful on the moon. The mining of raw lunar materials, along with the slow canibalization of SEED’s internal megastructure and shell, provide the required material resources for the production and further build up of the programmatic space – initially within the existing envelop of the shell, and eventually to independent lunar settlements along the perimeter of the crater. The final task of the SEED reactor is to gradually terraform the moon with its surplus energy generation. Over the course of 100 years, the deployment of hundreds of SEEDs will eventually create shallow lakes in the craters, and a thin but breathable atmosphere across the surface of the moon.

    Culture, Evolved
    As the lunar settlement grows outward and the terraforming reaches a critical momentum, SEED gradually evolves from a critical piece of infrastructure to a monument and relic of its former function. SEED’s final form is also a process of the slow erosion of its initial closed shell, through the self-consumption of its own structure and shell over time. It is through these transformations in both form and function that an object of culture begins to manifest. Rather than predetermining a particular cultural program within the project, the notion of culture becomes a temporal phenomenon, a resultant of all that has come to pass.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    jL: Nicholas de Monchaux’s “Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo” and Hashim Sarkis’s New Geography research

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching?
    jL: JG Ballard’s “High-Rise”, Mario Carpo’s “Alphabet and the Algorithm”, Teen Daze, Jonzi, M83

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    jL: Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor, Junya Ishigami

    Additional credits and links:
    more speculative imagery on flickr.

    Jury Comments:

    jimenez LAI: A very clear and interesting idea, and an impressive section. The representation was stellar. The phasing of the project was also communicated very well.

    david RUY: This is the most well thought out and developed of all the entries. The drawings and the renderings are refined and elegant. It is also impressive for producing the most detailed fictional narrative. As such, the project deserves recognition. However, the project doesn’t avoid the failings of the other projects that seem stuck somewhere between manipulating the imagery of science fiction and the peculiar professional orthodoxies of architectural representation (which seems so absurd for such an overtly speculative competition). The project’s main design object resembles many of the narrative props of science fiction movies (in particular the Romulan ship from the last Star Trek movie), and incorporates it well, but with no sense of irony that might have given it a more critical reading. Still, the work is exquisitely produced and, all in all, a very good project.

    madhu THANGAVELU: Very nice metaphorical storytelling backed with a credible long-term vision with significant societal ramifications.
    Not to mention, mature and seductive graphics that draws you in. The seed is an oft mentioned theme for extraterrestrial development . . . panspermia . . . the great diaspora . . . out of the cradle . . .
    A well developed concept and a program that smoothly slides the Moon into our economic sphere of influence. Nice timeline to grapple.

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  • WP_Modern_Notepad
    • AK Says:

      great work!
      great decision.
      as already said, incredibly clear section!
      congratulations!

    • kc Says:

      best of the worst…

      this is really the best project among these scrap projects. nice background story but did not utilize the possibilities of low gravity.

      bored to see earthlike architecture among all winners of this competition.

      it this the best you can come up with?!

    • Erdem Says:

      Until this entry, I’ve abandoned all hope about this competition., I felt forced to because of the visual quality degrading towards upper positions.

      Every entry was grayscale, some (actually one) of them made no sense to me, some of them lacked on grasping what really mattered on the moon in terms of design.

      I liked this entry, especially after seeing the second prize winner. Here, seems like a tendency towards a sci-fi design with “seeding life” idea. However I wouldn’t vote for the idea of terraforming Moon and trying to make it more like Earth rather than accepting and utilizing it as it was.

      Plus it is more fiction than science; since the Moon’s magnetic field and gravity is so weak it can’t hold atmosphere.

      There are countless options of designing spaces and how people could move in and through them, but this project (like every other) wouldn’t give up regular orthogonal rooms and horizontal leveling.

      I weigh 100kg on earth, probably about ~16kg on the moon, astronauts jumped on the moon rather than walking; there are places on the moon that don’t receive sunlight and many other facts and factors, but I still see regular, simple, ordinary and boring Cartesian geometry both outside and inside.

      I think this is a good project, but just like other prize winners it does not comprehend what LUNAR ARCHITECTURE should be, neither does the jury.

    • re kc Says:

      I’m not sure what you’re expecting to see, 1/6th gravity really doesn’t do anything for buildings on the moon other than lessen their structural requirements. Other than that, the basic principles of usable surfaces, orientation, etc all stay the same, which is why we’re getting these kinds of projects.

    • kc Says:

      how can bacis principles of spatial organization would be same as on earth if structural requirements are less. you don’t even need to walk away, just hold on something and jump or climb. low gravity – less structural elements – thin structural sections – occupants do not need to even walk – experience all parts of the space including the roof or ceiling of it (you can event dine in the ceiling with proper space organization!) – spaces should not be horizontal as it is on earth – etc… and in the if you still insist on principles of spatial organization is same as on earth, then you better stay on earth i think.

      in this case, the project totally eliminates the low gravity by so-called terraforming the moon – which is impossible because of the low magnetic field of the moon!

      if the winner of a cultural center on moon competition is a project that eliminate all circumstances of moon and turns moon into earth (which it actually can not), i think there is a lot to think about…

    • re re kc Says:

      I disagree, gravity on earth forces us stairs and elevators, whereas you can always leap or climb on the moon. Also it would be beneficial to do so since bones and muscles tend to deteriorate in the absence of or decreased gravity. Constant exercise is needed to keep your body strong. I think this should change how people circulate inside a building.
      I kinda liked this project’s sci-fi fantasy idea and I expected more projects like this but I guess it is closer to concept art than architectural design.
      Kudos anyway…

    • re re re kc's Says:

      So what happens when you introduce people in wheelchairs on the moon? Or children? Think about all the different user groups structures on the earth have to accommodate. Maybe stairs will be less frequent, maybe structural members will be thinner, but that doesn’t fundamentally change the spatial configurations inherent in multi-user group in habitation. Gravity still exists and organizes inhibition, you can’t dine on the ceiling etc.

    • bs Says:

      @kc
      where’s your project? right…….

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