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March 2011 5.50
THE LEADING MAGAZINE OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN


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B03 cover pm hw:1 21/1/11 14:59 Page 1
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EDITORIAL
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B03 Editorial pm hw3 :B09 17 editorial/pm 25/1/11 10:00 Page 10
2011 sees the 60th anniversary of Russian astronaut
Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space. He was sent
into orbit in April 1961. A month later, Alan Shepard became
the first American to leave the Earths atmosphere. Ten
years later, he was playing golf on the moon.
That extraordinarily intense period of invention, research
and achievement has never been repeated. Yet the current
race to exploit space is offering something new, and just as
exciting. It looks like Virgin Galactic will get there first,
offering passengers a four-minute taste of suborbital flight.
Yet the terrestrial nature of Foster+Partners design for
Spaceport America (see page 36), emphasises how ordinary
such projects will increasingly become. As Richard Williams
points out, we should take note of what is achievable now by
anyone with a little cash, and some basic DIY skills.
Robotic astronauts, space elevators, inflatable space
stations, bio-engineered space suits: these are no longer the
realm of science fiction. Given the pace of invention, we
should easily expect the first extraterrestrial human to be
born in the next 50 years. For the moment, space tourism
has little to do with space exploration, but its potential to
inspire is huge. As aerospace designer Burt Rutan (see page
42) has said: I have a feeling that among those 100,000
that fly in those 40 or 50 spaceships over the next 15 years
there are going to be some smart, creative folk that have an
enormous breakthrough.
Some are already being inspired by this new space age.
Arts Catalyst, the London-based group will launch its
Kosmika series of space-related events on February 17 at its
space in Clerkenwell. These will lead to more ambitious
events, with the European Space Agency, later in the year.
Theres an interesting comparison to be made between
the tangible excitement of these plans, and those outlined by
the Southbanks artistic director, Jude Kelly, to celebrate the
60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. Kelly denies that
there is any attempt to create a re-run of the ground-
breaking 1951 event. That would be too audacious she said.
The lack of vision more important than a lack of budget
is not unique to arts curators. It is a broader problem,
summed up in the calls for the recreation of Skylon, the
90m-high sculpture that towered over the Festivals site and
symbolised a modernist future for postwar Britain. Plans to
recreate it are considerably less inspiring than the SKYLON
spaceplane under development by British aerospace company
Reaction Engines. If one wants to see where exciting visions
for the future of humanity lie, it is up in space.
Peter Kelly, editor
EDITORIAL
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Alias 150 St. John Street London United Kingdom
Alias.indd 1 25/1/11 11:11:33
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
36 56 48
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SPACEPORT AMERICA
Virgin Galactics determined
pursuit of commercial space
travel has resulted in the
realisation of Spaceport America
in New Mexico. The project is
seen as both an economic
venture for the underperforming
American state and as a step
forward in aerospace technology.
Designed by Norman Foster, who
is fascinated by space-related
architecture, Gwen Webber
discovers a decidedly Earth-
bound and pragmatic spaceport
PROFILE: REGINA PELDSZUS
Missions to Mars are predicted
to be undertaken within the
next 20 years. Research into
the human factors of long-term,
manned spaceflight is becoming
an increasingly important field
as the missions become a
reality. Owen Pritchard meets
Regina Peldszus who has spent
three years undertaking a PhD
in space design, researching
the physiological and
psychological impact of design
on prolonged isolation
COMMENT
NASA Astronaut Dr Jeffrey
Hoffman argues that designers
need to be more imaginative if
commercial space travel is
to become a success
SPACE FOR SALE
Richard Williams explains that
as governments scale back their
space programmes, manned
spaceflight is being driven by
private investment and feverish
activity in design for
commercial clients
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42 SPACECRAFT DESIGN
California-based company Scaled
Composites has been pioneering
aerospace design since it was
founded by visionary engineer
Burt Rutan in the 1980s. The
company designed the White
Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo
crafts that will soon take paying
customers on sub-orbital flights.
As Rutan prepares for
retirement, Peter Kelly reports
on how the company is
continuing to set precedents in
design for space travel
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REGULARS
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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63
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69 OPENING SHOT
Artist Nelly Ben Hayoun presents
her immersive installation Super
K Sonic Booooum
VIEW
Project M; Bigelow Aerospaces
inflatable space station; Buran
Space Shuttle; Dava Newmans
Biosuit; SKYLON spaceplane by
Reaction Engines; Erik
Spiekermanns Achtung!; Citius
by Tim Abrahams; Sour Grapes,
and Nailhouse by Christopher
Rainbow
PRODUCTS
MAN AND MACHINE
Czech architect Ondrej Doule
began the project to design a
structure for a human habitat
on Mars while working as an
intern at NASA and continued
to develop it at the
International Space University.
It is designed to be completely
self-sufficient and house
scientists during lengthy
research missions
REVIEW
Film: Gwen Webber reviews
Orphans of Apollo, a film about
the commercialisation of space
Exhibition: Guy Bird visits the
Mbius-Transe-Forme exhibition
at the Fondation Cartier in
Paris, a retrospective covering
five decades of the comic-book
artists influential work
Book: Natre Wannathepsakul
reviews Arctic Perspective
Cahier No.1 edited by Andreas
Muller, about designs for harsh
environments on Earth
63 PRODUCE: TRON ARMCHAIR
The digital landscape that
features in the recent sequel to
the 1982 sci-fi film Tron has
inspired a new chair by New
York-based practice Studio Dror
Benshetrit, designed for the
Signature collaboration between
Walt Disney and Capellini.
Gian Luca Amadei reports on
the ideas and manufacturing
process that have created a
chair with a unique aesthetic,
which manages to be both
unapologetic and charming
14
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BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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B03 14 15 Opening shot ef hw:B09 20 Opening shot/pm/hw/ta 20/1/11 19:34 Page 16
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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OPENING SHOT
NELLY BEN HAYOUN
Artist Nelly Ben Hayoun studied Design Interactions at the RCA in London
and has exhibited her work in Paris, Tokyo, London and Dublin. Her award-
winning Super K Sonic Booooum is an immersive installation inspired by the
Kamiokande Observatory in Japan, and was exhibited at last years
Manchester Science Festival. An expert in particle physics accompanied
participants on a boat ride along the 15-metre river of water that ran
through a tunnel lined with thousands of balloons. Visitors experienced a
visual interpretation of the sonic boom that occurs when neutrinos and
water molecules interact. Nelly Ben Hayoun will be participating in the
inaugural Kosmica event in London at The Arts Catalyst on 17 February
(along with Regina Peldszus see page 54). www.artscatalyst.org
B03 14 15 Opening shot ef hw:B09 20 Opening shot/pm/hw/ta 20/1/11 20:00 Page 17
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infrared vision; a torso, which houses
the robots 38 Power PC Processors,
and two arms, each capable of lifting
a 10kg weight. Its operation is based
on partial robotic autonomy
carrying out pre-programmed tasks
and partly on relaying sensory
information to human operators so
that R2 can be used to perform
intricate tasks at remote locations.
At first, R2 will be confined to
operations in the ISSs Destiny
laboratory, deployed on a fixed
pedestal. Lower body elements, such
as legs and wheels to propel the R2
across Lunar and Martian terrain, are
currently in development.
The most advanced engineering
in R2 has been focused on the hands.
Unlike previous humanoid robots, R2
has slim fingers and thumbs; they
have 12 degrees of freedom as well as
two degrees of freedom in wrist. R2
has tendons to connect the skeletal
joints to sensors in the finger-tips
and actuators in the palm. These
allow R2s control systems to sense
reaction forces and continuously
adjust the grip. In public
demonstrations, R2s party trick has
been to shake the hands of every
visitor; no matter what size hand or
the firmness of the grip, the robot
automatically adjusts. For GM, this
dexterity marks a step-change from
Asimo, the robot created by Japanese
car manufacturer Honda, which has
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
become a familiar icon for advanced
robotics for more than 10 years.
As well as a demonstration of
technology to the government,
Project M is a public relations
exercise. R2s intricate hands may be
engineered to carry out delicate tasks,
but the sleek lines of its gold-and-
silver head reminiscent of designs
from Battlestar Galactica or Robocop
and the superhero proportions of its
torso are designed to generate
excitement in the general public. A
humanoid robot walking on the moon
will inspire students and demonstrate
our technological prowess. We also
thought quite frankly, President
Obama might agree that it is a
compelling and worthy mission for
NASA to conduct, says Ondler.
In its white paper proposing the
project, produced in February last
year, NASA stated: A humanoid robot
will be to this century what the
automobile, the television and the
personal computer were to the last
century The nation that leads the
industry of robotics, the nation that
designs, produces and markets robots,
will dominate the global economy in
this century. This is, of course,
promotional talk: it seems a curiously
old-fashioned vision of future
economies. Yet as a robotic remake of
the 1969 moon landing, Project M will
be a reminder of the inspirational
value of technological progress.
A masterpiece of engineering thats
been pencilled in for a moon landing,
Project M is not just an American
scientific marvel, it is also stunningly
effective PR, writes Peter Kelly

VIEW
21
be 300m, compared to 93bn for a
human mission to the moon.
According to the Project M engineers,
the economy of the mission means
that robots will play an ever-more
important role in space exploration.
February 2011 sees the first fruits
of the effort: NASA will launch
Robonaut 2 (R2) into space, on board
the final flight of the Space Shuttle
Discovery. The 150kg robot will be
delivered to the International Space
Station, where it will be tested,
refined and used to assist the human
crew members with basic tasks.
R2 has been designed by NASA
engineers along with robotics
specialists at General Motors. Its
primary purpose is to carry out
dexterous tasks in difficult or
dangerous environments that would
otherwise require human astronauts.
The 1 metre-tall humanoid robot
consists of a head, which contains
five cameras behind its reflective
visor to provide depth perception and
Above: glinting in
the dawn of a new
tomorrow. Legs,
wheels and
caterpilar tracks for
R2 are still being
developed by
Project Centaur
Project M, the mission to land a
humanoid robot on the moon within
1000 days, has been described by the
New York Times as a guerrilla effort
within NASA. The plan was announced
in 2009, at a time when Barack
Obamas scaled-back plans for space
exploration were becoming apparent.
Obama shelved a proposed manned
mission to the moon until 2028:
That is too many Presidential
administrations in the future to be
relevant or meaningful, says NASA
engineer Matt Ondler.
The engineering team behind
Project M led by Stephen J Altemus
at the Johnson Space Centre in
Houston has used discretionary
funds, bartered with private
engineering companies, and
persuaded other NASA units to co-
operate on this mission. So far, 5.5m
has been spent on the programme,
and engineers claim to still be on
track for a 2013 landing. It is
estimated that the total cost would
B03 21 View 1 hw ef:B09 25 v1/ki 20/1/11 19:37 Page 1
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Bigelow Aerospace has designed an
inflatable space station, which is up
for rent. It offers both commercial and
political potential says the companys
founder. Herbert Wright reports
Right: the proposed
space station from
Bigelow
Aeronautics will
comprise two
Sundancer modules
and one BA 330
In 1969, David Bowies Major Tom
described his home as a tin can.
From our occasional glimpses into the
International Space Stations (ISS)
cramped confines, things have not
changed dramatically. There is,
however, an alternative being
mooted. Robert T Bigelow has a
different proposition: a habitable
inflatable module. Although this
sounds strange, it makes sense and
allows for larger volumes of usable
space to be packed tightly into the
same payload at launch as a
conventional metal tube. Bigelow
Aerospace plans a commercial space
station by 2015, with modules to rent.
The biggest, a BA 330, offers a roomy
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
330 cubic metre interior a giant leap
in habitable space compared to
NASAs current Destiny research
module at the ISS, which is only 106
cubic metres in volume.
Bigelow is passionate about
commercialising manned space
activity, and hes put his money where
his mouth is: hes invested $18 million
since 1998 in Las Vegas-based Bigelow
Aerospace. His aim is to commercialise
low Earth orbit (LEO) the area
roughly 160-2,000km above the Earth
in which youll find various satellites,
tonnes of debris and the ISS. LEO
becoming the domain of private
enterprise, says Bigelow, [means]
commercial companies moving beyond
serving as sub-contractors to NASA.
LEO has been dominated by NASA and
a handful of other government space
agencies. Bigelow is targeting entire
countries to lease his modules, and
argues that those who exploit the
opportunities of microgravity will
become the economic giants and
political leaders of the future.
Memoranda of understanding have
been signed by the UK, Japan and
other nations. Although not binding
commitments, Bigelow says they serve
as an important intermediate step.
What countries or companies do
with their module is up to them.
Bigelow built his personal fortune
from the Budget Suites of America
hotel chain, so not surprisingly the
press has touted space tourism. We
are not building a space hotel, he
insists, although if Hilton or Marriott
hired us, we would be happy to design
such a facility. Instead, Bigelow sees
more serious, wealth-creating use of
LEOs microgravity that will benefit
the entire globe. He stresses that his
offering is a world-class platform for
commercial and scientific research
and development as well as
manufacturing akin to a national lab.
Two habitable Bigelow modules
are almost ready to go. As well as the
13.7m long BA 330, which already
exists as a production model, there is
Sundancer, 8.8m long with a
pressurised volume of 180 cubic
metres. Bigelow already has
astronauts to service these modules.
Life-support systems testing began in
October. The roadblock to getting
them into service is a lack of a
transport system or capsule to get
astronauts up and down from LEO.
Without such a capsule we cannot
proceed, says Bigelow, and it
certainly represents the long pole in
the tent. Undeterred, his company is
now participating in Boeings NASA-
backed CST-100 capsule, designed to
dock not just with the ISS, but also
Bigelows station, which will consist
of two Sundancers and a BA 330
around a central docking unit.
Although Bigelow is one of a new
set of private entrepreneurs, his work
owes a debt to NASA. In 2002,
Bigelow licensed NASA patents for an
alternative to the conventional tin
cans that house astronauts and
equipment in orbit. The TransHab
project was based around a tube of
30cm-thick laminated materials
capable of absorbing impacts from
meteors and debris while also
insulating against exterior
temperature variations of 250

C.
The structure had to be flexible
enough to inflate to almost double
its launch diameter.
In 2000, the US Congress banned
the US space agency from building
expandable space modules, in a
complex bill addressing its spiralling
funding. According to Bigelow, My
understanding is that the furthest
NASA got before the programme was
terminated was to construct and test
some restraint layers. He adds that
many expandable habitats look alike
externally, which is why from a
superficial perspective NASA plans can
bear a resemblance to illustrations of
our own products.
The technology, though, now sets
Bigelow apart from his commercial
competition. Other companies such as
Orbital Technologies are planning to
launch a small metal module. This
month, Excalibur Almaz shipped two
unused 1970s Soviet military space
station modules to the Isle of Man for
testing. Bigelow is unfazed,
expressing confidence in his superior
architecture and usable volume.
A crowded marketplace in LEO is
exactly where Bigelows unique
inflated modules should blow away
the competition.
B03 22 View 2 hw ef:B09 26 v2 ki 25/1/11 11:30 Page 22
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42




hm42
design: John Coleman
one of a broad and versatile
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designs for corporate, public and
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complete Hitch Mylius collection,
visit our website or contact us on
T +44(0)20 8443 2616
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hm42 27/08/2010 14:16





HM42.indd 1 21/1/11 10:13:56
HIGH DESIGN LUXURY VINYL TILES
FOR HOME INTERIORS
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Polyflor.indd 1 21/1/11 09:42:48
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
Above: an
illustration by
Christopher
Rainbow of the
underwhelming
home of the Buran
by the Moscow
River, with inset
diagram of the
shuttle in
better days
owned and proudly displayed at the
Sinsheim Technology Museum in
Germany). In 2002, Buran 1.01, the
only fully operational orbiter, was
destroyed when the roof of its hangar
at Baikonur, buffeted by heavy snow
and unmaintained through budget
cuts, collapsed, killing seven workers.
Other models of the Buran remain
exposed to the elements in Baikonur,
while back in Moscow one can be
found in Gorky Park. Like the Buran at
Khimki pier, this snowstorm has
struggled to withstand the elements.
The Buran by the banks of the
Khimki might seem emblematic of
Russias emergence from the Soviet
era, but one should be wary of seeing
it as a representative of the state of
its contemporary space programme.
The government has struggled to
preserve the Buran as a treasured
artefact, but this does not mean that
the Russian space programme is dead.
Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space
Agency is locked into an ongoing
contribution to the International
Space Station (ISS) and on New Years
Eve proudly announced that Russia
had launched two times more rockets
than the USA and China in 2010. In
fact, the Russian Soyuz rocket will
soon be the sole means of
transporting astronauts to and from
the ISS because NASA is due to retire
its remaining three Space Shuttles
later this year. As the Buran knows
only too well: yesterdays future is
tomorrows relic.
Once the pride of the Soviet Union, the
ghost of the Buran Space Shuttle finds
itself quietly haunting a Moscow
scrapyard these days. But dont let this
mislead you about Russias current stake
in space, reveals Christopher Rainbow
reduced throughout the 1980s.
The redundant Burans now remain
scattered around the country.
Originally they were manufactured
less than a kilometre away from the
Khimki pier, at the NPO Energia
factory. Transporting them, however,
was not easy. Each Buran is the height
of a five-storey building and has a
wingspan of 23.92m. The street
between the production line and the
pier was widened specially to
accommodate the wingspan. A barge
ferried the spacecraft to the
Zhukovsky airfield, 40km southeast of
Moscow and from there, the shuttle
would be mounted on the An-225 and
then flown to the Soviet Cosmodrome
at Baikonur in Kazakhstan.
The husk of the shuttle that
stands at the Khimki pier was on the
factory floor when funding for the
project evaporated, and remained
there until moved to its current home
in 2003 so as to free space in the
factory. Speaking a year later, the
factorys deputy general director
Mikhail Gofin said that he had been
advised to dismantle and melt down
the Buran. He had refused. We are
categorically against the destruction
of the ship, as it is our national
heritage. These relics cannot be
destroyed, he said.
Unfortunately the size and
expense of the craft has meant that
wherever a Buran has surfaced it has
struggled to find a secure home in its
motherland (although one model is
The Khimki Reservoir, on a tributary
of the Moscow River, is frozen. An
elderly couple is tugged across the icy
surface by eager grandchildren, while
nearby on a desolate snow-covered
football pitch, a pair of dishevelled
alcoholics glower menacingly at
passers-by. Behind them, a corrugated
iron fence delineates an open-air yard.
Inside, with missing wings, and its
exterior thermal tiles stripped to
reveal a green skin faded and battered
by the elements, the Buran space
shuttle snowstorm in Russian has
sat for the past seven years. By
contrast, the orbiter for the US Space
Shuttle Discovery sits on display at
the Smithsonian Institute in
Washington DC.
How did this once bold statement
of Soviet strength, a proud explorer
destined for outer space find itself
here, left to decay? In the mid-1970s
the Soviet leadership signed off the
Mir space station and Energia rocket
programme as the focus of its space
ambitions. When the Americans
launched the Space Shuttle Columbia
with 37 orbits of the Earth in 1981,
Russia began to covet the innovation
of combining a rocket launch with a
spacecraft that re-entered in its
entirety. Columbia was in fact a
compromise for NASA, who had hoped
to follow the Apollo missions with a
manned flight to Mars but failed to
achieve political support.
Sold on the concept of a re-usable
craft, the Soviets designed a response
around the US model, using Energia
rocket technology to propel the ship
into orbit. Five working craft were
constructed in addition to eight full-
size prototype models, yet the Burans
only ever completed mission
consisted of two Earth orbits on 15
December 1988. As an encore, Buran
appeared at the 1989 Paris Air Show
atop the An-225, at 84m long and
88.4m in wingspan, the worlds
largest cargo aircraft. For the space
programme, the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991 was the final death
knell, as its funding had slowly been
25
B03 23 v3 pm ef hw:B09 26 v2 ki 20/1/11 19:38 Page 1
26
pressure system, which used elastic
tension in a skin-tight garment rather
than gas in the EMU. Thirty years
later, while researching for her thesis,
Newman stumbled across the proposal
and recognised Webbs work as a
potential jumping-off point for a
practical solution to enhancing space
exploration. Her team now includes
former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jeff
Hoffman (see Comment page 46)
along with the original SAS designer
Paul Webb.
The newly brought-together team
has made fundamental changes to
Webbs original design, including the
addition of direct mechanical pressure
applied to the skin. This creates a
second skin and with it increased
mobility. Newman cites athletics as an
inspiration for the design. The Speedo
skin suit worn at the 2000 Sydney
Olympics was the creative thought,
she says, then, as an engineer I
applied the maths and facts. Indeed,
the BioSuits genius lies in its
engineering to produce a flexible yet
protective skin-tight material. To
prevent the astronaut from blowing
up, we need to control pressure on the
body and the fluids running through
and over the skin, says Trotti, director
of Trotti Studio.
The team used a 3D laser scanner
to map the contours of movement and
torque across the body. Wires and
cables were then embedded into the
BioSuits fabric; one set of skeleton
lines allowing flexibility and structure
while a second track links up to a
portable computer, which monitors
heart-rate and other biological
To create a BioSuit that will allow
future astronauts greater flexibility
than the clunky spacesuits of the
present, Dava Newman had to look to
the past. Gwen Webber reports
although ultimately the BioSuit might
rely on traditional elements as well,
such as a gas-pressured torso section
and helmet, the project has received
the go-ahead for funding from a key
player in the industry, and promising
client NASA.
Though it remains a research
project for now, the goal is for
astronauts on future moon and Mars
missions to don the BioSuit.
The suits that were used for the
Apollo missions were great for that
era, but the scale of ambition has
changed, says Trotti. Today we are
looking at realistic options for
inhabiting the moon: working on it,
farming it for resources and living on
it. The idea has been around for
decades and there have been people
whove tried to make it a possibility,
like Webb and his team. Now
technological innovation is allowing
us to realise these dreams.
In the short-term, the suit makes
practical chores easier for the
cosmonauts and astronauts charged
with maintaining the exteriors of
space stations and satellites.
Many of the current developments in
technology for space exploration are
based on defunct research by NASA.
In 1967 engineer Paul Webb proposed
a design to NASA for a Space Activity
Suit (SAS). After the failure of the
1970 Apollo 13 mission, though,
there followed a drought in
investment for moon exploration. The
SAS would have allowed astronauts
the mobility to live and work on the
moon, at the time a serious and
tangible proposition. Today, with
support from NASAs Institute for
Advanced Concepts and MITs Man
Vehicle Lab (MVL), MIT professor and
aeronautical engineer Dava Newman
has developed a new version of the
SAS, dubbed the BioSuit, along with
architect Guillermo Trotti.
Current suits only enable the
wearer limited flexibility, permitting
them to take the same loping strides
that Neil Armstrong and others made
on the moon more than 40 years ago.
These fully pressurised suits, or
Extravehicular Mobility Units, were,
and still are, as unwieldy as their
name. Webbs alternative was
revolutionary: creating a counter-
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
information across the body. The same
process allowed researchers to plot
the lines of non-extension lines
along the body that do not extend or
contract in length during movement
by mapping body surface curves with
the deformations of circles drawn
directly on to the skin and measured.
The different elastic materials
that make up the suits fabric were
woven using electrospinning, a
process whereby an electrical charge
draws very fine fibres from a liquid. Its
composite materials, manufactured by
Italian company Dainese, which
specialises in motorcyclist gear, will
have a huge impact on the feasibility
of the project. The implications of
using such a mix of recyclable
polymers as nylon and Spandex on the
outer layer could lower the cost of the
BioSuit to a tenth of the $20 million
price tag of one of todays spacesuits.
The teams 10-year project has so far
opened up new channels of enquiry
for example, the use of a spray-on
inner layer for a snug fit. The team is
still working on the most complicated
areas of the legs and arms, and
Above: a 3D laser
scanner was used
to map the
contours of
movement of the
body
Below: a series of
sketches show
the evolution of
spacesuit helmets
TO STOP ASTRONAUTS
FROM BLOWING UP,
WE NEED TO CONTROL
PRESSURE ON THE
BODY AND THE FLUIDS
RUNNING THROUGH
AND OVER THE SKIN
B03 24 v4 pm hw:B09 26 v2 ki 20/1/11 19:42 Page 22
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BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
29
Using a name that was once iconic as
a piece of design, Reaction Engines
SKYLON is an example of British
science that is destined to be iconic
all over again writes Herbert Wright
Theres something of the optimistic,
heroic post-war spirit to SKYLON, the
reusable spaceplane under
development by Reaction Engines of
Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Although it
needs no pilot, Dan Dare would surely
have been just the man for the job.
The SKYLON vehicle is named after the
Powell and Moya-designed Skylon
needle that floated above the 1951
Festival of Britain and weirdly the
spacecraft has a similar shape and
scale to the sculpture even if the way
it challenges gravity is based on more
advanced British technology.
Far from being a piece of
nostalgic design, the SKYLON is an
important proposition for space travel
and could be in commercial service by
2020. Delivering 12 tonnes into orbit,
it will be ready to fly again within two
days of a mission, and capable of 200
flights over its lifetime. At 82m long,
it is longer than a Boeing 747, but its
wingspan is a mere 25m. Its fuselage
is only 6.25m across and with a black
aeroshell skin of fibre-reinforced
ceramic, its a sleek, dramatic form.
However, the design of the truss-
framework structure is purely
functional, minimising atmospheric
co-founders Richard Varvill and John
Scott-Scott, both ex-Rolls Royce
engineers. Initially, they used
Amstrad personal computers to
crunch numbers. What emerged was
not just the new SKYLON design, but
its key element a revolutionary
engine called SABRE. It performs as
an air-breathing jet up to a speed of
Mach 5, then switches during flight
into a rocket, conventionally burning
hydrogen and oxygen. What makes
SABREs performance so efficient is a
unique system that uses helium to
cool incoming air by 1150C while in
air-breathing mode, so it can be
compressed and burnt with
hydrogen. The unusual way the
exterior curves slightly, like a banana,
is a design feature that points the
air intake directly into the engine
during ascent.
Currently, the engine
development is part-funded by the
European Space Agency, but the
mechanical structure of SKYLON is
privately funded. Eventually, Reaction
Engines would license the vehicle
design to be built and operated by
others, so the company could
concentrate on engine technologies.
That hasnt stopped Reaction
Engines though from pursuing what
it calls advanced studies based on
SKYLONs capabilities.
Bond has an unusual track-record
with what may seem flights of fancy.
In the 1970s, he led a project for the
British Interplanetary Society to
design a space probe to reach a
nearby star. The work gained much
respect for its grounding in what was
feasible. Research Engines concepts
dont go that far, but they have
explored possible scenarios for the
infrastructure that would be built
around the SKYLON. These include an
Orbital Base Station, which is a vast
open cylindrical frame effectively an
orbiting shipyard. Large spacecraft
built in it could go to Mars, and
Reaction Engines has a plan for such a
mission in 2028.
However, Bond shares an
understanding with American space
entrepreneurs that there must be a
market for what he offers. It is
essential to get space transportation
into the same economic framework as
all other human activity, if human
aspirations for a future involving the
off-Earth resources of the solar
system are to be realised, he says.
SKYLON is only a beginning and other
propulsion systems and transport
architecture will rapidly follow. Bond
cannot predict the future, but
anticipates a day when we will not be
tied to this one piece of flotsam left
over from the formation of the Sun.
SKYLON has a long way to go
before it flies. Perhaps the biggest
fear is the sort of funding dry-up that
led to the cancellation of previous
British space projects. Bond says I
lament the loss of the opportunity
HOTOL afforded the UK and the
terrible attrition of highly skilled and
talented people that the nation
consigned to the scrap-heap during
the 1980s. Nowadays, he is more
confident, and says that we have no
complaints about the level of support
and interest we currently enjoy.
Above: SKYLON
celebrates the
ambition of British
engineers and is
much more than a
mere flight of fancy
drag. Most of the fuselage is occupied
by two liquid hydrogen tanks, with
the payload bay between them.
So far, everything in orbit has
got there on multi-stage rockets
even the reusable Space Shuttle
sheds vast booster rockets that are
strapped on to launch it. SKYLON,
however, takes off and lands all in
one piece. What it could deliver to
orbit includes geosynchronous
satellites (which remain fixed
relative to the Earth), supplies to
the International Space Station,
Solar Power Satellites, or even a
module for 25 people. SKYLON can
support anything that is foreseeable
in the near- and mid-term future,
comments Dr Mark Hempsell, the
Future Programmes Director at
Reaction Engines.
Reaction Engines, as the name
suggests, is primarily interested in
building engines. The company was
set up in 1989 by engineer Alan
Bond, leader of an earlier British
Aerospace spaceplane design called
HOTOL. After the British government
withdrew its funding from HOTOL,
Bond set about designing a better
spaceplane with Reaction Engines
B03 27 v5 pm hw ef:B09 26 v2 ki 20/1/11 19:43 Page 1
BRANDALISM
The award for the stupidest name for a
redevelopment project seems to be in
the bag already for 2011. With the
BBC moving its operations out of
White City to the new Media City in
Manchester, TCN and communications
agency JPCreative have agreed with
the BBC to utilise 5,570 sq m of
vacant building on part of the White
City estate. The interior of the existing
building will be refitted while the
listed exterior will remain. The
marketing geniuses behind the project
have, after extensive research and
mind-mapping (no doubt), rebranded
the building UGLI with the strapline
Beautiful on the Inside. Maybe they
were inspired by last years Be stupid
campaign for clothing brand Diesel.
A TONIC FOR THE NATION?
The 60th anniversary of the Festival of
Britain is coming up this summer.
Grapes had the pleasure of attending
the launch at which the programme
was announced. Many of the events
had a familiar feel, including the
Meltdown Festival and the E4
Udderbelly established annual
events dragged under the celebrations
banner. Southbank Centres artistic
director Jude Kelly confidently
announced: We are not trying to
produce a new Festival of Britain. It
would be too audacious. We are trying
to pay homage in a grateful and
playful way. A swish video featuring
Tracy Emin and Ray Davies upped the
ante, before a visibly excited Wayne
Hemmingway revealed his passion
for the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Flicking through the original
programme he declared: All the way
through its full of stuff that just
makes you want to dribble. So, in
short, the anniversary will be an
unaudacious rebranding of the annual
Southbank festival lightly coated in
Wayne Hemmingways saliva.
MACHO, MACHO MAN
At the recent Critical Futures debate at
the Gopher Hole in Shoreditch,
Blueprint editor Peter Kelly joined a
panel with curator Beatrice Galilee,
Shumi Bose, Kieran Long, Charles
Holland and Geoff Manaughs huge
digitised face to discuss the future of
architectural criticism. A good time
was had by all. Grapes was, however,
left perturbed by one suspect
comment from Standard architecture
critic Long: When Im in the pub, I
dont talk about computer games, he
said, I talk about football, because
Im your masculine archetype. When
it was pointed out that, he definitely
isnt an archetypal male. He conceded,
Well, maybe not in this jacket. No,
Grapes thought, not in that jacket,
or any other jacket.
30
MECHANISED MUSINGS
If there was any doubt that
Robonaut 2 was aesthetically
designed to be anything more than a
PR stunt, then Twitter has confirmed
Grapes initial cynicism. R2 has its
own cutesy account @Robonaut to
answer questions from the public as
well as musing on its own existence.
Dont expect any technical insight,
however. Recent offerings include: Ill
need a robot to play EVE to my WALL-
E. Or the equally desperate, Dear
Santa, I would like legs for Christmas,
please. I have been very good and
worked very hard since I was born in
May. Yours sincerely, R2. Who said
science was dumbing down?
NOVEL IDEA
Grapes has longed for the definitive
architecture novel to adorn its dusty
shelves. Since The Fountainhead by
Ayn Rand, there have been few serious
attempts at writing fiction featuring
the profession. When Grapes got wind
of a new novel scheduled for release,
Perfect Architect by Jayne Joso,
hopes began to rise. Upon reading the
press release, the hopes quickly faded
again. Its billed as Grand Designs
meets I Am Love and played out
against the international settings and
glamour associated with the world of
star architects. Grapes could only
picture Kevin McCloud, Tilda Swinton
S
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and Norman Foster locked in a
vicious love triangle on a building site
in the Cotswolds.
ARCBIZARRE
Crowdsourcing is a buzzword used by
marketing types to get people to work
for free. Grapes (and a good few
others) was perturbed to read that a
group of business graduates from
Harvard have decided that this might
be a good business model to apply to
architecture and have established
ArcBazaar.org. Clients can now upload
their brief, architects can then carry
out the design process for free in a
competition format. If they dont win
the competition, they receive points
on their profile. Unfortunately, points
dont win prizes or a fee for the work
carried out. In all, its a very bad idea.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Grapes always relishes in a snoop
around the houses of the rich and
famous. The Times magazine indulged
us greatly with a nose around Design
Museum director and ex-Blueprint
editor Deyan Sudjics north London
home. Poring over the pictures, Grapes
was surprised to see that the cunning
Mr Sudjic had managed to sneak a
copy of his recent Norman Foster
biography into one picture, placed
carefully on the sofa in his first
floor living room.
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
B03 30 v8 pm ef hw:B08 36 v8 pm/sd/ta 24/1/11 19:09 Page 40
Call for entries
An annual commission and exhibition,
Designers in Residence asks recent design
graduates to create new work in response
to a specic brief
The designs will be showcased in a temporary
exhibition at the Design Museum
24 August 2011 22 January 2012
DESIGNERS IN
RESIDENCE 2011
Applicants must be resident in the UK,
have graduated from Higher Education
within the last five years and have been
working professionally in some form
of design practice for at least one year
The brief, set by Design Museum Director
Deyan Sudjic, application form and
terms and conditions are available from
designmuseum.org/exhibitions/2011/
designers-in-residence
The deadline for entries is
5pm on Monday 28 February 2011
DMDR_BlueprintAdvert_AW.indd 2 24/01/2011 16:17
Design Museum.indd 1 24/1/11 16:33:55
Spiral Staircase.indd 1 21/1/11 10:15:30
In 2008, Lord Coe grandly stated: we
are not in the business of building
football grounds. Yet as the Olympic
Park Legacy Company considers who
should become tenant of the Olympic
Stadium after the Games in 2012, the
two most likely candidates are football
teams: Tottenham Hotspur and West
Ham United. Indeed, Tottenhams late
entry to the fray has shocked many, as
it proposes the wholesale demolition
of the stadium. Although this bid is
definitely not the favourite, it does
highlight the political and economic
realities of sport in a way that the
West Ham bid, which promises to
retain the track and allow the stadium
to be used for athletics, does not.
In one very important way Lord
Coe was right. The Olympic Stadium in
Stratford is, as it stands, a crap
football stadium. Built in a cramped
site on a bend in the River Lea, it may
be an 80,000-seat stadium, but it is
designed with minimal facilities. A
simple bowl of seating and sporting
area, it has no toilets, suites, boxes
and very limited hospitality (during
the Games these will be provided in
separate temporary structures). It
doesnt have a roof, and perhaps most
importantly, it has an athletics track
that must remain. It was designed to
be a large stadium for only three
weeks, and then after the Games, for
sections to be removed so it becomes
a 30,000-seat stadium, which would
be both a community facility and the
home of British athletics.
Lord Coe may not have a position
within the OPLC and he may have been
forced to backtrack on his aversion to
a football club tenant, but his
influence over the whole development
is huge. Let us not forget he is a
former athlete, one of Britains most
successful. He is also an Olympian. He
won gold medals in the 1500m at both
the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the
1984 Los Angeles Games. In addition,
he is the vice-president of the
International Association of Athletics
Federations, the sports supreme
governing body. To be clear, Coe, a
former Tory MP, orchestrated Londons
victory in the bid to host the Olympic
Games. In the document produced to
help persuade the International
Olympic Committee, he promised that
the stadium would become a
permanent home for British athletics.
So if Lord Coe, who has had to
compromise on the tenant, wants an
athletics track, he is going to get one.
Although athletics tracks are
common around football stadia on the
Continent, in the UK they are seen as
anathema. The atmosphere of live
football, such an important selling
point to keep fans paying large
amounts to attend, depends on their
proximity to the action. This
proximity, paradoxically, has an effect
on TV audiences, whereby a match in
which the fans are close to the pitch
and voluble, is far better to watch
than one where they are removed from
the action. Even though the athletics
track for the City of Manchester
Stadium was removed when it was
converted to football use, Manchester
City fans still complain about the
distance of the main stands from the
pitch. The wiser ones, though,
grudgingly acknowledge that the move
to the bigger ground paved the way
for investment that has made them
one of the best teams in England.
In some ways the Spurs bid with
its promise to trash the athletics
track is a satire on Coes ambition.
Indeed, the conspiracy theory that it
is not a serious bid is convincing.
Tottenham submitted plans for a new
stadium at Northumberland Park near
its existing crumbling ground, White
Hart Lane, in October last year. The
project will also include a 77,000 sq ft
supermarket and over 400 new homes,
of which 40 per cent will be
affordable. It is an expensive package
at 450 million and the club has made
it clear that it feels the local
authorities are putting too many
obstacles in the way. Just as in 2003,
when David Dein (vice-chairman of
Arsenal Football Club) indulged in
some arm-twisting when he mooted
relocating to Wembley in the face of
local resistance to Arsenals new
stadium in Islington, so it is thought
that David Levy is doing the same with
Spurs and the Olympic Stadium.
What is funny about the Spurs bid
is that it would cost 200 million less
to demolish the Olympic stadium and
rebuild a new one incorporating little
of the original but the undercroft. The
club is offering to spend 25 million
on the Grade II-listed National Sports
Centre in Crystal Palace, the current
home of British athletics. This 15,000-
seat stadium is just the right size to
host the London Grand Prix although
it costs Londons authorities about
1million a year to maintain. Olympics
athletics retains a political clout
greater than its popularity, though.
David Lammy, who is MP for the
constituency in which Spurs ground
stands, asked the OPLC to 'detail the
framework that will be used to make
the decision'. According to the Daily
Mail the reply cited an 'elite sport' in a
context that suggested something
other than football. Although the
economic reality is that, in the UK,
football is the only sport that can pay
for a large stadium, politically it is
considered inferior to the rarefied
world of athletics. And West Ham fans
gazing over stretches of polyurethane-
coated rubber will be reminded of this
every time the team plays at home.
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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Against the wishes of Lord Coe, it seems likely that the
permanent residents at the Olympic Stadium will be a
Premiership football club. Hell make sure, however,
that athletics remains ingrained in the ground
CITIUS
THE ECONOMIC
REALITY IS FOOTBALL
CAN PAY FOR LARGE
STADIA. POLITICALLY,
IT IS INFERIOR TO THE
RARIFIED WORLD OF
ATHLETICS
B03 31 citius ef:B09 29 v3 ki 20/1/11 19:43 Page 31
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Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space
Odyssey, first shown in 1968,
presented quite a few concepts that
have since become reality. There is a
camera the size of a cigarette lighter
that wouldnt have been big enough
for films available at the time and
passengers watch movies on screens in
the back of seats, something not
introduced to airplanes until the
1980s. But Kubrick didnt imagine that
one of the greatest brands of the time,
Pan Am, would not see the year 2001.
In the film, Pan Am runs the shuttle to
the moon, staffed by stewardesses in
knee-high boots. In fact, the airline
went bankrupt in 1991.
The poster announcing the movie
in 1968 was set in Futura, a typeface
from the 1920s that was probably
chosen for its name rather than for its
space-age look (there is a Flickr group
dedicated to the lack of typographic
imagination, LTypI, which shows
similar examples, like many a souvenir
shop displaying the eponymous
typeface on its window). The Bell
company logo on the Picturephone
booth (!) in the movie is also but a
pleasant memory of bygone days
before voice prompts had been
invented and signals were clear, albeit
dependent on hard wiring.
Graphic designers working for
movies never displayed a lot of
imagination when it came to
predicting the typographic future.
Whether its 2001, Star Wars or Star
Trek, type on walls or on screens
always looked like it was designed in
early-1960s Torino, Italy: square with
rounded corners and the occasional
oblique protrusion. And always all
caps. Lower case letters were
obviously considered low-tech and too
wimpish for the purposes of serious
space travel. I am never quite sure
whether some of these styles were
influenced by the cool NASA logo with
its curvy N and A (without a crossbar,
like most Korean company logos) or
whether NASA itself got its inspiration
from space movies. NASA retired that
cool logo in 1992 in favour of a badge
designed in 1959, officially called
Insignia but fondly referred to as the
meatball. That one, in turn, looks like
it came from the Buck Rogers TV series
that debuted on ABC in 1950. Buck
Rogers adventures in space turned
space technology into a part of pop
culture and made Americans
susceptible to spending billions of
dollars on the joy of space exploration.
If space travel only evoked
geometric capital letters in graphic
designers imaginations, it doesnt
look as if they would be good at
predicting what the future holds, as
far as visual communication is
concerned. Our lack of interest or
imagination concerning the future of
space travel might simply have to do
with the fact that going into space or
at least landing on the nearest known
satellite rock, aka the moon, hasnt
been on our minds much lately.
If you mention the word space to
designers these days, theyll most
likely first think of the lack of space
on their hard drives or in their closets.
Some will make the connection to
the third dimension that we all live
in, and a few of us design for, but
that is firmly fixed to our earthly
presence physically by gravity,
mentally by inertia.
Today, up in space is where our
data lives, the stuff that connects us
to our mobile phones, our bank
accounts and our music. This space is
now called the Cloud, a euphemism
for the gigantic server farms (another
deliberately harmless-sounding
misnomer) run by the likes of Amazon,
Google, Microsoft et al. As of 2010,
there were about 16 million servers
in the US alone and one of those
computer agglomerations needs as
much as 100 Megawatts of electricity,
enough power to supply a town of
80,000 in the US (twenty times as
much as a town in China with the
same population).
This is only the beginning. Each
time we run a web search, we activate
roughly 7,000 or more computers. And
they all get their data from the Cloud,
the thing we also refer to as ether- or
cyberspace, the non-place where data
gets lost, but which might hold the
answer to the disappearance of single
socks and ballpoint pens. While outer
space, that black nothingness
between planets and stars, evokes the
adventures of bold men in metallic
suits with all-caps logos on them,
data space hasnt had a movie made
about it yet. Unless we include the
countless films about that other
space, the physical one between
people. This is supposed to disappear
by connecting individuals across
cyberspace. I cannot, however,
imagine Arthur C. Clarke writing a
book about social media and Stanley
Kubrick turning it into a movie, 2008:
A Myspace Odyssey, followed by the
sequel, 2011: The Facebook Revenge.
IF YOU MENTION THE
WORD SPACE TO
DESIGNERS THESE
DAYS, THEYLL MOST
LIKELY FIRST THINK
OF THE LACK OF IT ON
THEIR HARD DRIVES
OR IN THEIR CLOSETS
Erik Spiekermann
set up MetaDesign
and FontShop, and
worked in London
from 1973 to 1981.
A teacher, author
and designer, he
he is a partner at
EdenSpiekermann,
which has offices
in Berlin and
Amsterdam
Movies about space and real-life space travel
seemed to have spurred each other on, over the
years, to come up with the best ideas. Its a shame
graphic designers havent been able to keep up
ACHTUNG!
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B03 34 v7 pm ef hw:B09 29 v3 ki 24/1/11 15:58 Page 34
Tel. 01923 818282
Email. sales@shopkit.com
www.shopkit.com
CABINETS
Design, supply and fit
all styles of cabinets with
great attention to detailing,
using high quality materials
and finishes.
Call for brochure or to
discuss your current or
future projects.
Shopkit BP Cabinet 1p Ad 30/6/10 14:31 Page 1
Shopkit sept.indd 1 21/1/11 10:18:44
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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SPACEPORT
AMERICA
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VIRGIN GALACTIC HAS WON THE RACE AS
THE FIRST COMPANY TO OFFER SUB-
ORBITAL SPACEFLIGHTS. FOR THOSE THAT
CAN AFFORD IT, THE JOURNEY WILL
BEGIN AT SPACEPORT AMERICA,
DESIGNED BY FOSTER + PARTNERS.
GWEN WEBBER TRAVELS TO THE
BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND
FINDS A MYSTERIOUS CREATURE NESTLED
IN THE SCORCHED DESERT
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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The Spaceport in New Mexico
is the first of its kind in the
world, marking the birth of a
new typology of building

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Above: the linear axis allows
a continuous route from the
entrance through the
superhangar and terminal
building, and beyond
Plan in relation to the White Knight Two & SpaceShipOne vessels
In the desert of New Mexico pioneering journeys are
part of the landscape. Snaking across the region,
the Camino Real traces an earlier route made by
people in search of a richer existence. The Royal
Road, also known as Camino de la Meurte Road
of the Dead was forged as a short-cut away from
the Rio Grande by people moving from Mexico City
to Santa Fe and beyond in the early 19th century.
The trail through what is now Sierra County is
barely visible in parts, marked only by wooden
gazebos with information panels, erected as part of
an effort to promote and protect the historic route.
Twenty miles north of Las Cruces and parallel to
the Camino, a dirt road branches off Interstate 25.
It is currently the only access route to the worlds
first spaceport.
In 15 to 18 months this road will be paved,
says Wayne Savage, project manager for Spaceport
America, the agency leasing out the land to Virgin
Galactic. Richard Bransons latest headline-grabbing
venture, which offers sub-orbital space flights to the
paying public at around 125,000 a pop, is the
buildings first and, so far, only tenant. The remote
location demands an enormous amount of new
infrastructure, of which this road is just one part.
In this sparse and seemingly flat landscape, the
spaceport becomes visible around five miles away as
a greenish shell, like the back of a beetles wing.
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Its curving form has been likened variously to an
armadillo, a stingray and a bedpan. As one gets
closer, driving through the Yote Ridge heading
north-east, the building disappears from view
entirely and the land reveals itself as crevassed.
Here, when the rain eventually falls it floods
the plain and cuts ruts and ridges into it; flatness
is an illusion.
The 328 sq m site allocated for Spaceport
America has been leased on land from two existing
ranches that have been in ownership of a local
family the Cains for more than 60 years. Near
one of the ranch buildings, there stands a small
billboard. Signalling the spaceport ahead, it shows
an early birds-eye view rendering. This is Foster +
Partners competition concept.
The image is mysterious, a parabolic, nearly
closed horseshoe punctured with star-like roof
lights, its periphery lit up in blue-white neons
and framed by Virgin Galactics swooping White
Knight Twos the catamaranesque aircraft that will
carry the spacecraft. The images brown and gold
tones speak of Fifties sci-fi book covers. The real
building, currently under construction and due for
completion this summer, seems a more practical
piece of infrastructure: it is effectively a holding
space for planes and waiting room for astronauts.
The most impressive component is the hangar
Top: the earth berms at the
west entrance give the
impression of descending
underground and conceal the
natural cooling systems
Section looking north
Section looking west
Above: a view from the
runway showing the east
elevation of the hangar,
which reaches 18m at its
highest point
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career Foster has made no secret of his fascination
with space-related architecture, but the building on
site encompasses little of that excitement.
The spaceport tells us more about public-
private partnerships than cosmic aspirations. After
announcing its collaboration with New Mexico
Spaceport Authority in 2005, Virgin Galactic
approached Foster + Partners with plans for a
commercial horizontal launch site in the New
Mexico desert. The company had been looking in
Florida for a site to launch its budding space
programme and was invited by then director of
Spaceport America, Rick Homans to invest in a site
it had earmarked, 80km west of the White Sands
Missile Range. A scheme was drawn up by a local
architect, Antoine Predock PC but Virgin Galactic
was keen to get a second opinion.
Fosters initial proposal inspired the
government to open an international competition.
Local architect SMPC came on board as the teams
licensed architect and construction giants URS acted
as primary builders, while Foster took the lead on
design. Though its been said that conversations
about establishing a spaceport here have been going
on for decades, the process has been comparatively
Above: the recess in the roof
forms a clerestory that allows
sunlight to penetrate the
entire facility
Right: despite the 10,220 sq
m construction site, it will still
be a tight fit to house a fleet
of craft at full capacity
facility. A drive-through space, it stretches to
18m at its highest point and is open to the east and
west, its entrance marked by a concrete valley cut
into the earth. The hangars slanted sides give a
sense of regal procession. When the dirt has been
properly compacted, the earth berms will rise
around and give the impression of entering directly
into the ground.
At ground level, the buildings most unique
aspect is the bridge-cum-promenade over the
operation floor. The bridge is skeletal (it will be
covered, but not completely) and from there,
passengers will have a view over activity on ground
level, standing over the elegant planes and rockets
that will be taking them on their space-bound
adventure. From this vantage point, one is also able
to see the beautiful underside of the roof: its steel
beams and struts are a complex web of interchanges
and nodes. One can also see the sunken section of
roof that allows the intense New Mexico sun to
flood into the deep covered space below. The whole
idea behind Virgin as a brand is the experience for
the client... and bringing together the two functions
of operational space and visitors facilities was key
to making the astronaut feel a part of the journey,
says Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson, partner at
Foster and lead designer on the project.
The spaceport is an opportunity to set a
precedent for a new typology. And it isnt an easy
aesthetic to reconcile. Even as a construction site,
at 10,220 sq m, it is clear that the spaceport hangar
has little room for manoeuvre. It will be a snug fit
parking two White Knight Two aircraft with 25m
spans and five SpaceShipOne rockets with 5m spans
under the same roof. The hangar will be flanked by
understated three-storey blocks to the east and west
containing offices and training rooms. For the time
being, the fuselage trainer where passengers can
experience weightlessness in preparation for the
flight will be held at the Mojave Air and Space
Port in California.
Such pragmatic concerns seem a let-down in
this stargazing project. But that is the reality as
space travel becomes a commercial business.
Expectations about what a spaceport should look
like are rooted in a nostalgic view of the future,
played out in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and
replicated in the lairs of James Bond villains. Rather
than fulfilling our expectations, Foster is cultivating
an experience that is primarily terrestrial. Over his
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quick since Virgin Galactic made real the
proposition of commercial space travel. Three-and-a-
half years after the competition closed, the project is
setting the precedent for other planned spaceports.
The general response to the spaceport has been
hospitable, in some cases excitable. In the town of
Truth or Consequences (T or C), 48km north-west
of the site, an Italian restaurant serves
Spaceportobello a plated replica of the building
made out of mushrooms. While the Las Cruces
Sun Newspaper has been reporting on its progress
since the beginning. The project has come up
against opposition, however, from those critical of
its target audience: the few who can afford the
$200,000 ticket into space.
Now there is a new concern about the projects
status. Last Novembers US midterm elections saw
Governor Bill Richardson after whom Spaceport
Americas runway was named in a dedication
ceremony last October replaced by Republican
Susana Martinez. Following the Democrats defeat,
Spaceport Americas executive director Rick
Homans resigned. Support at local and state
government level has been vital because a large
portion of the $209m budget has come from
taxpayers. When local counties voted to tax
themselves for 10 years to raise the $60m
contribution, it was on the understanding that
Virgin Galactics 20-year lease of the plot alone
would pay back that investment, not withstanding
the money it will generate from tourism and
developments. It seems though, that the project has
progressed too far and too much has been invested
for the project to be shelved.
In Savages mind the benefits are obvious
regardless of the political context. New Mexico is
one of the worst performing states in terms of
education and work prospects, he says. Savage was
brought up in New Mexico and moved away for
work 20 years ago. He returned with his family three
years ago when the spaceport project began. I see it
as an economic development project, says Savage.
But it is hard to convince people of long-term gains
in the current financial climate. The bigger picture,
explains Savage, is a project that changes the
expectations of a place, a people, or a State.
Indeed, New Mexico is already a prime
destination for space-related tourism. The town of
Alamogordo, 120km east of the site, is home to the
Space Museum and was the town where German
engineer and ex-SS officer Werhner von Braun played
a key role in establishing the Space Age in the 1940s
and first developed rockets capable of going into
space. Along with being home to the venerable New
Mexico Museum of Space History, the Solar
Observatory and the Very Large Array Radio
Telescope, New Mexico has also hosted the
impressive XPrize Cup the catalyst for Burt
Rutans original SpaceShipOne. The spaceport is
next in an extensive line of trailblazers.
There is an expectation among architects and
business people that new opportunities will arise in
the area after the first launch. Though it remains a
landscape of propositions, pieces of land have
already changed hands. In one area west of Interstate
25, a group of businessmen have purchased a plot
where they plan to build hotels, restaurants and
malls to service the anticipated demand. While
further north, near T or C, another party has laid out
a detailed master plan for development.
As the birthplace of sub-orbital space tourism,
Spaceport America marks another chapter in new
Mexicos history of pioneering journeys. If
successful, it could also bring an unprecedented
economic revival to the region .
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OPENING SPACE TRAVEL TO THE MASSES IS
NOW A MATTER OF WHEN, NOT IF. SCALED
COMPOSITES, ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF
AERONAUTICAL DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
HAS DEVELOPED THE CRAFT THAT VIRGIN
GALACTIC WILL BE USING TO FERRY
PASSENGERS ABOVE THE EARTHS
ATMOSPHERE. PETER KELLY DISCOVERS
THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND A COMPANY
THAT IS DETERMINED TO OPEN A NEW
CHAPTER IN HUMAN FLIGHT
SPACECRAFT
DESIGN
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Scaled Composites
predicts that craft like
SpaceShipOne and
WhiteKnightOne could
transport up to 1000
new visitors into space
with the first year
Its a paradigm shift; its a game changer,
says Matt Stinemetze, lead engineer at
Scaled Composites, the California-based
company behind SpaceShipTwo. If you
take six people at a time into space, no
matter if its just four or five minutes
of weightlessness, the fact is you get
the rocket ride, you get the zero G, you
see the curvature of the Earth, you
hear the silence.
This is the experience offered to the
worlds first commercial passengers or
astronauts when they take their trips
out of the Earths atmosphere.
SpaceShipTwo, the craft that will carry
them into suborbital space and then glide
B03 042 Spacecraft design2 pm hw2 ef:B10 ?? ??/Interview 25/1/11 10:26 Page 45
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talismanic founder, Burt Rutan. He
officially retires this April.
Rutan established the company in 1982.
Under his guidance the company quickly
gained a reputation for creating experimental
aircraft with innovative technology and
unusual forms. In 1986 the Scaled-designed
Voyager aircraft, co-piloted by Rutans
brother Dick, became the first aircraft to fly
around the world without stopping or
refueling. Using carbon-composite materials
and a design that reduced weight and drag to
a minimum, it was a milestone in the
history of aircraft design and is now held in
the Smithsonian Institutions National Air
and Space Museum.
Just as remarkably, the Model 202
back to Earth, is the latest in a long line of
innovative craft designed by Scaled. Based
in Mojave in California, it has been behind
some of the most experimental aircraft of
the last 30 years.
Developed with Virgin Galactic, it is
plastered with the companys branding, and
has frequently been photographed in the
vicinity of a grinning Richard Branson.
SpaceShipTwo, however, with its rounded
cabin section, large circular windows and
prominent, mobile rudders at the rear, is
very much in Scaleds tradition of designing
aircraft with unusual forms to answer
extreme challenges. It is also the first craft
to have been designed by Scaled without
the direct, hands-on involvement of its
//ALL YOU SEE IS THIS BIG CABIN
WITH BIG WINDOWS WITH THIS
HUGE VOLUME INSIDE. ITS
FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT THE MOST
IMPORTANT PAYLOAD ON THE
PLANET, WHICH IS PEOPLE//
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significantly it also pioneered the
feathering atmospheric re-entry system,
for which the rear half of the wing and the
twin tail booms fold upward along a hinge
running the length of the wing. This
facility removes the need for computer
driven flight control systems or the need to
rely on the pilots. Instead it uses
aerodynamic design to permit a heat-free
re-entry followed by a runway landing.
This project was a crowning and
final triumph in Rutans career. In
recent years, partly because of ill health,
67-year-old Rutan has been stepping back
from the limelight and the hands-on
design work. The team of designers and
engineers that he assembled are taking the
beautiful shape of an airplane probably is
one that has good performance. I know
that for something to have the range of
Voyager, it has to have these real long,
slender wings so frail that they bend way
up. So to me when I look at that
application I see wonderful aesthetics in
the shape of a wing.
The move into aerospace design has
brought Scaled worldwide attention once
again. With funding from Microsoft
co-founder Paul Allen, Rutans
SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize as
the first manned private space flight.
This success demonstrated the viability
of Rutans proposal for an air-launched
craft for suborbital flight. Most
Above left: SpaceShipTwo
under construction. This
craft will carry the first
commercial astronauts
into suborbital space
Above right: Scaled
Composites
SpaceShipOne. Rutan says
that the aircraft only look
beautiful because of their
good performance
Above: one model of
the WhiteKnightTwo,
the VSS Enterprise, in
mid-glide flight

Boomerang, designed in the mid-1990s,
turned conventional aircraft engineering
on its head with an asymmetric twin-
engine design. With one wing shorter than
the other and the engines lopsided
positioning one mounted in the main
fuselage, the other on a left boom it was
designed to be a multi-engine airplane that
would not become dangerously difficult
to control in the event of failure of a
single engine. It remains a unique
experiment in aircraft design.
Rutan has always had a no-nonsense,
pragmatic approach to the appearance of
his aircraft: Aesthetics play a role when
you have finished an airplane, get it ready
to fly and you paint it white, he says. A
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Above: the new
generation of engineers
at Scaled Composites
is taking into account
the aesthetic of its
spacecraft designs
iteration is a rocket-powered spaceplane
that launches horizontally from an aircraft
at around 15,240m which is already above
most of the Earths atmosphere. If there are
problems during the boost phase, the
rocket motor can be shut down, allowing
the spaceship to glide back to the runway.
Its carrier plane or mothership
WhiteKnightTwo is the largest all-
composite aircraft ever built.
It seems that the new design team
taking Rutans place are more taken with
the aesthetics of spacecraft: I wouldnt say
we go out trying to make the aesthetics
very sci-fi, says Stinemetze, but certainly
we spend time on the layout of the vehicle,
we spend a lot more time with the swoop,
and the sexiness. This is partly down to a
different outlook a generation inspired by
the seemingly unintended aesthetics of
Rutans work but it is also because these
new craft are being launched in a whole
new market. There is now a greater
competition than ever before for Scaleds
leading position. In December 2010,
another California-based company, SpaceX,
launched Dragon, the first spacecraft ever
placed in orbit and recovered by a private
company. Stinemetze describes that project
as another game-changer.
As these companies enter an
increasingly competitive market, the
aesthetic appeal and emblematic role of
such craft will be more important. They are
not just competing in terms of technology,
but in capturing the imagination of a
paying public. SpaceShipTwo is just a sexy
rocket very flashy and in your face, says
Stinemetze. He also believes that these
missions are going to bring a whole new
generation of engineers and designers into
the industry, just as the Apollo missions
did in the 1960s and 1970s: If this is not
going to inspire kids, nothing will.
Yet apart from the specific appeal to
designers, there is another significance to
the spacecraft created by Scaled and its
competitors. Though the first commercial
astronauts will be the immensely
wealthy, the long-term effect of such
missions could be profound: Youre talking
not just a couple of people in forty years,
were talking potentially 500 or 1000 in
the first year. So you can just very quickly
build up the amount of people that have
been to space and see the Earth in a totally
new way, says Stinemetze. The
experience is likely to inspire new ideas,
and create a new market that will
eventually bring the price for such trips
down to an affordable level.
Having spent 30 years making aviation
and aerospace design extraordinary, the
greatest achievement of Scaled Composites
would be to make journeys into space a
mundane fact of life
lead on design and engineering both
conceptual and real.
Stinemetze became the lead
conceptual designer on SpaceShipTwo, and
has increasingly become the public face of
Scaleds aerospace projects. He now works
with a team of designers and engineers on
the aerospace projects. To this team,
Rutan has been a lifelong hero. Id been
watching Burt and his home-built stuff in
magazines ever since I was a little kid,
says Stinemetze. He describes his job
interview at Scaled as being like going to
meet Mohammed or something and Im
coming to Mecca.
Rutans approach was distinguished by
a belief in taking risks with design. You
can only claim youre doing research if half
the people and Im talking about half the
experts believe that the goal is
impossible, he says. SpaceShipTwo
continues Rutans ideals, yet is a
development rather than a step-change in
engineering. Twice the size of the Rutan
original, it is designed to carry six
passengers and two pilots, it resembles a
business jet more than a work of
extravagant experimentation: All you see
is a big cabin with big windows with this
huge volume inside. Its fundamentally
about the most important payload on the
planet, which is people, says Stinemetze.
As with SpaceShipOne, this new .
B03 042 Spacecraft design2 pm hw2 ef:B10 ?? ??/Interview 25/1/11 11:01 Page 48
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COMMENT
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
48
There are a few obvious issues of design for astronauts:
privacy features heavily in such an intimate, shared space. Across
the board, space-related design is quite conservative and the
challenge is mostly prosaic how to have a toilet on-board a
space shuttle, for example. The design itself isnt dissimilar to an
airplane lavatory, except that it is probably the only toilet in the
world with a seatbelt to avoid floating away when using it! When
theres sufficient motivation, humans are willing to put up with
less comfort for a short amount of time, like living out of a tent
on camping trips. So, when NASA sets guidelines for the
particular amount of volume of space required, related to the
need for comfortable working and living conditions, often there is
waste and inefficient design. When creating a design for an
environment, theres no one size fits all it is dependent on the
type of environment and the mission. In each circumstance,
designers should test the guidelines themselves and work to what
their own experience tells them: theres no easy way to explain
how it feels in space.
Recent developments in design have been the inclusion of
advanced communication technology: it is now possible to
telephone anywhere on Earth from outer space. The problem of
boredom in space travel has been the topic of some recent
discussion, but certainly on spacecrafts, there is no time to be
bored. It is more a case of isolation: you have a beautiful view
but you cant smell the flowers or hold your family, so
communication has been a huge progression for astronauts
and cosmonauts alike.
I recently attended the announcement of the winner of the
SHIFTboston Moon competition. It was an excellent starting
point for the exploration of design and to get people thinking
about the serious possibilities of lunar habitation. However, if we
tried to implement them, a lot of the designs would fall down
because of engineering problems. One of the biggest challenges in
achieving habitation on the moon is peoples desire to have a
great view of their environment but due to the vast amount of
surface radiation, people staying on the moon will probably have
to live underground. How do you deal with that? You need a lot of
material between you and the lunar surface. Its details such as
these that are the most fascinating and need focus. That is
architectures challenge
THE DESIGNERS OF SPACE
STATIONS NEED TO BE MORE
IMAGINATIVE IN ORDER TO
REFINE SPACE EXPLORATION
FOR COMMERCIAL TRAVEL,
SAYS NASA ASTRONAUT
JEFFREY HOFFMAN

Growing up in the 1950s, it was difficult not to be enthralled by


the idea of space travel. While I was at school in 1957, the
Sputnik satellite was launched and four years later, President
Kennedy pledged to have a man on the moon within a decade.
Magazines and comics that were filled with images of astronauts
and spaceships all conspired to build excitement and curiosity.
Space exploration had been a fascination of mine since my father
took me to visit the Planetarium in New York City as a boy. At
that time, however, astronauts were all military test pilots,
which simply didnt interest me, so becoming a heroic astronaut
was never a realistic prospect for me.
I became an astrophysicist, studying first at Harvard and
followed by a post-doctorate at Leicester University in the UK.
On returning to the US in the mid-1970s, I envisioned a career in
space research at MIT but my life took a different turn. At the
time, NASA was working on the development of the Space
Shuttle and put out a call for new astronauts. The Shuttle
required a crew of seven, only two of whom needed to be test
pilots. The rest could be engineers, scientists or medical doctors.
So I decided to apply and was selected in 1978. It took two years
of basic training before I was qualified to be assigned to a flight
into space. Since then I have been on five space missions, the
most famous of which was flying up to fix the Hubble space
station in 1993, with my last flight taking place in 1996 after 20
years as an astronaut with NASA.
Working with NASA, you become very sensitive to how
humans use architecture in a weightless environment. Through
training exercises you learn about a local vertical in space you
have no idea of what is up or down. There is no right way up: one
compartments floor might be anothers ceiling or work surface.
The architectural design of a spacecraft, therefore, is significant
to the crews ability to orientate itself. In the old Russian Mir
space station, there were different modules, each of which had a
different orientation, often leading to temporary disorientation
with the crew moved from one module to another.
In the International Space Station, there have been efforts
made to maintain a local vertical throughout the entire station.
With a mix of American, Russian, European and Japanese
designers and engineers responsible for building the stations
modules, there was a wildly different compass guiding each one.
It can be dangerous to have significant discontinuity, so
uniformity is a major part of the ongoing design process there.
Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman
is Professor of the
Practice of
Aerospace
Engineering in the
Department of
Aeronautics and
Astronautics at MIT.
He is a former NASA
astronaut who has
made five space
flights, becoming
the first astronaut
to log 1,000 hours
of flight time
aboard the
Space Shuttle
.
B03_46_Comment1_pm ef hw ef2:B09 58 Comment1 ki 20/1/11 19:32 Page 46
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BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
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PROLONGED TRIPS TO MARS AND
BEYOND HAVE BEEN PUT ON THE
BACKBURNER AS FAR AS
GOVERNMENTS ARE CONCERNED.
BUT ACTIVITY IS FEVERISH IN THE
WORLD OF DESIGN FOR
COMMERCIAL SPACE TRAVEL. AS
RICHARD WILLIAMS EXPLAINS, THE
FUTURE OF MANNED SPACEFLIGHT
IS SURPRISINGLY CLOSE TO HOME
50
B03 048 Space2 pm ef hw:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 15:54 Page 50
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
51
Main image: a robotic lift
as envisioned by LiftPort.
It is designed to carry
cargo and crew along a
carbon nanotube
composite tether linking
a mobile offshore sea
platform to a
geostationary
counterweight
SPACE
FOR
SALE
NASAs budget was to be increased by $6bn
at a time of drastic public expenditure cuts
elsewhere. But as everyone in the audience
knew, Obama had presided over the
decommissioning of Americas only space
vehicle capable of transporting humans
into space the Space Shuttle, in operation
since 1981 and he had also in effect
cancelled the only replacement, then
under development, Project Constellation
with its Orion crew module. Both actions
would leave the US without an indigenous
space vehicle.
The situation outside the US is
scarcely more optimistic. The Russians
remain the only serious contenders to the
USs aged crown. However the Soviet space
programmes failure to develop reusable
vehicles was well-known, and its vehicles,
although reliable, are antiquated. A new
launch system, with a new crew module
At NASAs Kennedy Space Center in
Florida, one of the more curious attractions
is the Rocket Garden. Here, picturesquely
arranged, and surrounded by greenery is a
collection of launch vehicles from the early
years of Americas manned space
programme: Redstone, Atlas, Titan and
Saturn boosters, and Mercury, Gemini and
Apollo capsules into which you can climb.
Its a most affecting sight, especially as the
sun sets at the end of the day, when it gives
out precisely the message that NASA
would like to suppress: that the era of
manned spaceflight is, to all intents and
purposes, over. Listening to President
Obamas speech at Kennedy on the future
of the space programme on 15 April 2010,
it was hard not to come to that exact
conclusion. Obamas words were upbeat.
America would land humans on the moon
again, and Mars, and even an asteroid, and
B03 048 Space2 pm ef hw:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:35 Page 51
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
applications of technology developed
elsewhere or downstream activity to use
its parlance. The classic example given was
satellite broadcasting. A lot of activity was
upstream (created in the UK) however,
with satellite design and building. That it
could now say it was doing something
indicated creative accounting, certainly,
but also that the nature of space had
changed. No longer was it the place for
governments to establish international
political ambitions, rather its become a
place to make money.
The commercial exploitation of space
has had three peculiar effects on the way
space travel is understood. First, is the
more or less total emphasis on the near-
Earth environment. Even the remaining,
highly ambitious national programmes
have none of the urgency that Apollo had
in the 1960s. Space travel, for the time
being, means just getting up there, rather
than going very far; this new limit is partly
commercial, but partly medical, informed
by better knowledge about the difficulty of
sustaining life outside Earths atmosphere.
Second is the new geography of the space
business. If commercial rather than
national interests now predominate, then
the liveliest areas of activity might as
easily be found in the Mojave desert, or
an Oxfordshire business park, as Houston
or Baikonur.
Third, and most interestingly, is the
proliferation of new launch systems not
just launch vehicles, but entire new
approaches to getting people and things
into space. It is the quality of invention
that perhaps best characterises the space
business in its new form. Where other
aspects of aerospace have seen design
mature and only incremental change (think
of the design of civil airliners, with the
same configuration defining virtually all
types, regardless of size), the space business
has seen invention flourish. Nowhere is
this clearer than in the area of launch
technology. Space, as maverick astronomer
Fred Hoyle once remarked, is hardly
remote: only an hours drive away, if you
could drive straight up. The problem of
getting there, however, is ferocious. To get
beyond the Earths atmosphere, requires an
awful lot of fuel, and to get into orbit, or
beyond, you need to travel faster than the
planets rotation: Mach 30 or so. The
traditional solution to all this, the multi-
stage, chemically-fuelled rocket, leads to a
prodigious amount of waste, not just of
fuel, but of hardware, generally used only
once. Now there are multiple possibilities,
much encouraged by the X-Prize
Foundation, which in 1996 offered $10m
for the first private organisation to send a
manned vehicle into space and return,
repeating the feat within two weeks. The
competition produced 26 serious entrants,
and almost as many technical solutions:
chemical rockets with reusable capsules,
spaceplanes launched from rockets
vertically, then gliding to Earth,
spaceplanes launched in the air from
carrier planes, rockets launched from
balloons. The winner was Burt Rutans
Scaled Composites entry, now developed
commercially as Virgin Galactic.
The X-Prize challenge was for
suborbital flight, and it is this area that is
perhaps the most publicly visible, for it is
through Richard Bransons activities with
Virgin Galactic that a plausible business
model has evolved. This is based on a
joyride into space for the well-off in a
vehicle the size of a business jet. Air-
launched from a specially designed mother
ship, it reaches an altitude of some 60
miles before gliding back to earth.
Close in concept to Bransons project
is XCOR Aerospaces Lynx spaceplane,
which also plans to take paying customers
in 2012. It undercuts Virgin by $100,000,
and the plane itself is smaller and simpler,
a single-stage design with no need for a
mother vehicle. It seems equally serious:
in November 2010, the Los Angeles Times
reported that from 2014, the Dutch airline
KLM would offer XCOR suborbital flights
as a perk for (very) frequent fliers.
and booster design, the Rus-M, was
unveiled at the MAKS air show in 2009,
but it did not seem to be going anywhere
fast as long as 50 per cent of the agencys
budget was taken up with the International
Space Station. India and China promise
much, but are unlikely to deliver for
decades. Chinas mission to Mars would
take place by the agencys own estimation
some fifty years hence. The European
Space Agency (ESA) has never developed a
manned capability, and shows only
episodic interest in developing one.
For fans of Star Trek, or anyone (like
this writer) who watched NASAs moon
landings when they happened, history
seems to be in reverse. However, any
gloom is arguably misplaced. Manned
spaceflight might be about to enjoy an
unprecedented boom in which more people
fly routinely into space, more often than
ever before. But for that to happen, the
nature of space travel must change. The
earliest phases of manned space travel,
represented in culture as much as in actual
events, were expressions of individual
heroism and national prestige: Tom Wolfes
classic account, The Right Stuff, captures
its exuberant spirit. Contemporary space
travel is likely to be more prosaic, driven by
commercial considerations.
For some background to this view, a
report released in November 2010 by the
fledgling UK Space Agency is worth a read.
The agency itself was created only in April,
to some sniggering from the British media
who noted its unglamorous location
(Swindon) and minuscule budget. And the
report itself, The Size and Health of the
UK Space Industry, is on the surface really
rather dull: no heroic vision here, not even
any pictures. What it did describe, though,
was a surprisingly big, dynamic, private
sector growing far faster than anything else
in the UK economy its annual growth
rate of 8.9 per cent since 1999 suggested an
area growing twice as fast as the much-
touted creative industries. A lot of this
activity, the report admitted, was
Above: a conceptual
sketch for a space station
to be used as a
counterweight at the end
of the space elevator
tether
Opposite: the concept of
a space elevator was
brought to a wider
audience by Arthur C.
Clarke in his 1979 novel
The Fountains of
Paradise
52
B03 048 Space2 pm ef hw:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 15:55 Page 52
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
53

//SPACE, AS MAVERICK
ASTRONOMER FRED HOYLE
ONCE REMARKED, IS HARDLY
REMOTE: ONLY AN HOURS
DRIVE AWAY, IF YOU COULD
DRIVE STRAIGHT UP. THE
PROBLEM OF GETTING THERE,
HOWEVER, IS FEROCIOUS //
B03 048 Space2 pm ef hw:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:39 Page 53
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
Above: an illustration of
the space station Mir by
Nyein Aung. The image
was used on LiftPorts
publicity tickets as a way
to build public interest in
space elevators
54
As suborbital flights have caught
media attention, there is significant
activity in the area of commercial heavy
launch systems for humans. The satellite
launch business has long been
commercialised, but NASA has made clear
that it wishes to encourage the
commercialisation of crew launches too.
Its COTS (Commercial Orbit
Transportation Services) programme,
initiated in 2006, makes provision for the
development of private manned spaceflight
(COTS-D). The major sub-programme
supported by COTS is SpaceXs Dragon
capsule, for up to seven crew, successfully
tested unmanned in December 2010, and
the only serious replacement in sight for
either the Space Shuttle or Russias
venerable Soyuz capsule. Unremarkable-
looking, it has two innovations: it is
reusable, and has retractable landing gear.
However, neither the suborbital
trippers, nor SpaceX are offering anything
radically different: theyre nimble and
opportunistic, but their technologies refine
what already exists, and the financial
savings offered, one suspects, come from a
relative lack of bureaucracy. XCOR has
just 25 people on its payroll. A much more
substantive commercialisation of space will
occur with a different technology
altogether, one that can offer a 90 per cent,
or more, reduction on launch cost. That
requires (to invoke American physicist
Thomas Kuhn) something of a paradigm
shift. One such shift might be found in an
Oxfordshire business park, where a small
company called Reaction Engines (see page
27) has been developing a radical new
vehicle. Reactions proposition is
fundamentally a business-oriented one: a
reusable, single-stage to orbit (SSTO)
launch vehicle with engines that breathe
air, but also work in space. The vehicle
itself, the needle-like SKYLON has real
glamour; its capable if it works of
speeds four times that of the rocket planes,
and enough to get into orbit.
But the most elegant game-changer
would unquestionably be a space elevator
(first popularised by sci-fi writer Arthur C.
Clarke in his 1979 novel The Fountains of
Paradise), a 36,000 km-long tether linking a
geostationary satellite with Earth, and up
which slowly and silently would climb
a vehicle, delivering satellites and people
into orbit. Its a serious proposition: serious
enough for NASA to sponsor prizes in its
development, and for several companies to
be working exclusively on it, among them
the LiftPort group. In last years highly
prestigious series, the Royal Institution
Christmas Lectures, hosted by the BBC,
the materials scientist and engineer, Mark
Miodownik concluded with a passionate
argument for the construction of a space
elevator, as well as a physically eloquent
demonstration of its guiding principles (he
concluded the lecture in mid-air, attached
to a tether).
While we wait for the space elevator,
however, we might reflect on what is
achievable now by anyone with some
basic DIY skills. Since the mid-2000s, a
handful of amateurs with weather balloons
and digital cameras have achieved what,
until recently, only national governments
could achieve high-res images of the
Earth from above. Robert Harrisons
March 2010 experiment launched from
Yorkshire, and attained a height of close
to thirty miles not far off what XCOR
want to achieve with their first flight.
The resulting pictures were quite brilliant,
and the whole exercise, Harrison thought,
cost no more than 500.
NASA take note. .
B03 048 Space2 pm ef hw:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:00 Page 54
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BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
56
A GRADUATE FROM CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS
COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN, PELDSZUS HAS
CARVED A UNIQUE NICHE AS A SELF-STYLED
SPACE DESIGNER. HER LATEST PROJECTS
INVESTIGATE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL
CHALLENGES FACED BY ASTRONAUTS.
OWEN PRITCHARD REPORTS
PROFILE
REGINA
PELDSZUS
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B03 54 Profile Peldszus pm hw ef2:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:05 Page 56
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
57
The Mars Desert Research
Station in Utah is a
NASA training facility
where Peldszus carried
out her olfactory study
on a crew in training

In London there are so many designers, its


just as ridiculous to say I am going to be a
graphic designer, as it is a space designer,
says Regina Peldszus. The German-born
graduate of Central Saint Martins has spent
the last seven years researching and
designing for long-term, manned spaceflight
habitability. She has collaborated with
international space organisations, from the
European Space Agency (ESA) to the
American Institute of Aeronautics and
Astronautics (AIAA). Her work ranges from
the mundane concerns of boredom in long
space missions, to the real-world
applicability of sci-fi film sets.
As a designer there is no set route for
doing this job, I did a BA in arts
management, then a Masters in design
studies at Central Saint Martins says
Peldszus. It was during her Masters that
Peldszus decided she wanted to pursue her
lifelong passion for space design, applying
for PhD funding from the UKs Arts and
Humanities Research Council while
working as a design intern in China. The
application was successful, and the recent
completion of her PhD at Kingston
University is another step in Peldszus
B03 54 Profile Peldszus pm hw ef2:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:06 Page 57
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
journey that began as a child fascinated
with science fiction. The street I first
lived on in Berlin was called Cosmonaut
Street, she says. As a child I had a poster
of a section through the Starship
Enterprise, I was fascinated with the living
quarters and how it was occupied.
Peldszus now operates out of a shared
office space with design collective
Supercollider in Dalston, London. They
often collaborate and convened a space
architecture symposium together at last
years London Festival of Architecture.
The freedom and financial stability
provided by the PhD offered Peldszus an
opportunity to define the role of a
spaceflight designer in her own terms. Her
work can be broadly categorised into three
areas: research and development for
manned spaceflight; design consultancy
for live industry products; and outreach
projects that bring Peldszus ideas and
those of other space designers and
strategists to the general public. My
work is about establishing an applied
framework that will define a new design
practice. It is an incubator for ideas that
are tailored to my interests and plug the
gaps of what still needs to be researched.
Peldszus has clearly found a niche.
With the commercialisation of many space
programmes, the emphasis on research
and application of design is largely focused
on the comfort and aesthetics of short-haul
Above: the Mars 500
project in Moscow will
house 6 astronauts for
520 days for a simulated
mission to Mars
Above centre: an interior
of one of the four
hermetically sealed
modules. The study will
provide an insight into
the effects of long-term
isolation
58
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
The ESA was established in its current
form in 1975. It consists of 18 member
states and employs over 2,000 staff. Its
headquarters are based in Paris with
auxiliary locations in Germany, Spain,
the Netherlands, Italy and the UK. The
ESA is responsible for coordinating the
European space programme and
establishing a single European position
on the understanding of Earth, the solar
system and the universe. In 2007 it
published the European Space Policy,
which tackles such strategy issues as
security, defence and accessibility to
space. To date it has carried out over
190 unmanned launches and provided
the International Space Station with the
Columbus laboratory.
MARS 500 PROJECT MOSCOW
The Mars 500 project is a collaborative
study between the Institute for
Biomedical Problems and the ESA. Six
Astronauts (three Russian, one Italian,
one French and one Chinese) will live
in a hermetically-sealed habitat 550
cubic metres in volume. The project will
simulate the 250-day journey to Mars,
a 20-day mission and the 250-day
return. The study will focus on the
physiological and psychological effects
of prolonged isolation. Peldszus
implemented her clothing study with
Ralf Heckel, and clothing sponsor Bruno
Banani at the facility. The study began
in June 2010 and will end in November
2011. A similar facility exists in Utah
in the USA.
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B03 54 Profile Peldszus pm hw ef2:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:07 Page 58
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
59
manned flights. Despite the scaling back of
funding for government-led space
programmes, the European Space Agency
still foresees manned exploration missions
to Mars being undertaken by 2030, NASA
and Russia envision it happening sooner.
These missions will involve a crew living
in a capsule habitat for around 500 days.
Aside from the physical risks of sustaining
life in a hostile atmosphere, Peldszus
research examines the minimisation of
psychological challenges and stressors.
Equally, much of the investigation
into human response to space travel,
outside of medical and physiological study,
comes from anecdotal evidence. The
Goldberg report of 1987 warned of the
lack of objective data on the behavioural
responses of crews on space missions, and
highlighted that, in time, with larger crews
and longer missions, the dangers need to
be fully understood. Studies into the
long-term effects of isolation, such as the
projects in Utah and Moscow (see panel
on page 58), are now providing an avenue
for research that, until now, has
remained abstract.
The people who worked on the early
missions are retiring now. NASA leaves a
long paper trail, the Russians dont. There
is a lot of tacit knowledge, getting hold of it
is difficult, says Peldszus. Part of the
designers success is down to finding ways
to introduce her studies into existing or
planned experiments. You have to hijack
what is already going on, she says with a
smile. One of the key areas of study
affecting these long-term missions is the
autonomy of the crew. Peldszus work
examines how the highly engineered
spacecraft and life-support systems can
promote the psychological well-being of
the astronauts through human-centred
design. In Peldszus words, We are looking
for the ambiguity in the systems, areas that
can be examined beyond their immediate
application, which can improve the
well-being of the crew. Her work
encompasses the physical design of
environments, the creation of games, the
habitability effects of growing plant life in
microgravity as well as the role of science
fiction films as scenarios for psychological
habitability. It looks to minimise negative
behaviour in astronauts through the
application of known techniques that
promote mental well-being.
One of Peldszus most recent projects
was a study into the olfactory environment
of crewed spacecraft. The tradition has
been for spacecraft to be designed as odour
neutral. In the closed environment of the
Habitability Project on Sensory
Stimulation in Space in Utah, Peldszus
undertook an experiment with Irene L.
Schlacht, of the Man-Machine-Systems
Group in Berlin, into the responses of
isolated individuals to specific smells.
Odour causes multiple psychological
responses, from triggering memories
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF AERONAUTICS
AND ASTRONAUTICS
The AIAA was founded more than
75 years ago and is the worlds largest
technical society devoted to the global
aerospace profession. It acts as a
meeting place for its 35,000 members
from industry, government and
academia across the fields of science,
space and defence. The AIAA publishes
policy and strategy as well as offering
information exchanges, professional
development and awards among its
members. Each year it is responsible
for organising conferences that
bring together the expertise in the
US and internationally.
Above right: Peldszus
diagram describes the
spatial layers involved in
deep space missions

B03 54 Profile Peldszus pm hw ef2:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 17:38 Page 59


BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
60
Top: a graphic from
Peldszus study into the
clothing programme that
astronauts use. It seeks
to provide variation
within the standard
issue uniform
Above: providing
variation in even the
most mundane items,
like underwear, can have
a positive effect on
psychological well-being
// WE ARE LOOKING FOR
THE AMBIGUITY IN THE
SYSTEMS, AREAS THAT CAN
BE EXAMINED BEYOND THEIR
IMMEDIATE APPLICATION,
WHICH CAN IMPROVE THE
WELL-BEING OF THE CREW. //
(known as the Proust Effect) to altering the
perception of the immediate environment.
This basic trial supplied the crew in the
project with a series of vials of specific
odours. Initially, the crew was dismissive
of the trial, says Peldszus, yet as time
went on they found the smells to be
evocative and invigorating.
The implementation of stimuli that
reduce the feelings of monotony and
isolation is also explored in another of
Peldszus studies. Along with Ralf Heckel,
of the International Space Education
Institute (SEI), Leipzig, she developed
a clothing line that provided variation
from the standard mission uniform. The
clothing programme gave the crew control
over their appearance and also broke up
the monotony of routine; there were
even items designed to be worn on special
occasions. The physics of space travel
does not allow life on Earth to be
replicated. The luxury of being able to
wash or replace clothes is not possible.
So the variation has to be in place before
hand. It is the introduction of surprise,
variation and delight to a system that
is perceived as finite or closed. Personally,
its not about designing one single thing,
there are so many variables, says Peldszus.
In 2010, the AIAA published a paper
by Peldszus, Professor Hilary Dalke
(Peldszus PhD supervisor) and Dr Chris
Welch (part of the Astronautics and Space
Systems Group at Kingston University)
entitled Science fiction film as design
scenario exercise for design habitability:
Production designs 1955-2009. This
explored speculative design in science
fiction, placing particular emphasis on
Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The study recognised that the
scenarios depicted in science fiction,
particularly Kubricks seminal film,
were the product of many years of
consultation, research and development
by multidisciplinary design teams, which
were comparable to those working on the
scenarios predicted for long-term
spaceflight. Through this study,
conclusions were drawn about the general
environment and interior colours of
spacecraft, the organisation of activity
zones, the provisions available to crews,
entertainment and leisure activities. The
findings within the fictional narratives,
when analysed alongside the reality of
completed or ongoing missions such as
the ISS, could then be integrated to create
more robust mission scenarios.
For some, Peldszus work might appear
outlandish and speculative, but the
research liberates our understanding of the
everyday as well as providing frameworks
for mankind thriving beyond Earth.
Spaceflight will change the way we look
at our world, wrote Peldszus in Looking
Over the Edge (2007). By seeing things
we take for granted in a different light,
we abandon set ways and prejudices
The insights of human spaceflight make
citizens look over the edge. Not just the
edge of our earthly atmosphere, but above
all, the edge in our heads. .
INTERNATIONAL SPACE UNIVERSITY
Based in Strasbourg, France, the
ISU offers courses and one-year
Masters in disciplines relating to space
programmes and enterprises. Founded
in 1987, it provides graduates and
professionals with research
opportunities as well as specific
curriculums ranging from engineering
and space science to space policy and
law. The ISUs mission is to inspire
enthusiasm, promote understanding
and encourage the innovative
development of space for peaceful
purposes. More than 3,000 students
from over 100 different countries have
graduated from here.
B03 54 Profile Peldszus pm hw ef2:B10 ?? ??/Interview 24/1/11 16:09 Page 60
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BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
63
Above: Olivia Wilde
as Quorra and
Garrett Hedlund as
Sam Flynn in a still
from Tron: Legacy
Left: an early ink
sketch of the Tron
chair by Dror
Benshetrit, which
came after seeing
the film

When released in 1982, Tron


pioneered something new in film:
the hybridisation of real and digital
environments. Telling the story of a
computer hacker trapped in the
virtual space of a game defined by
a grid system, Tron soon gained
cult status. The film has had a
major impact on redefining design
aesthetics not only in the realm of
computer games but also in the
automotive and fashion industries.
Similarly Tron: Legacy, the long-
awaited sequel to Disneys
groundbreaker, displays a
breathtaking array of digital special
effects, marking yet another
milestone in the evolution of
computer graphics.
From the dynamic, streamlined
Light Cycle redesigned by German
concept designer Daniel Simon to
the interiors (a nod to Stanley
Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey),
the film speaks volumes about
design. Everything seems tangible
and real. This was the aim of
director Joseph Kosinski, a
mechanical engineer by training
with a Master of Architecture from
Columbia University in New York.
Disney is also keen to pursue
collaborations with furniture
manufacturers in the real world, so
as to reach consumers in the mass
market. Last year saw the launch of
the Cappellini and Walt Disney
Signature series, featuring designs
by such studios as Nendo. The
result of a further step in this
collaborative project is the Tron
Armchair, which bridges design and
cinema production. Designed by
New York-based practice Studio Dror
Benshetrit, the chairs sport a
futuristic yet cartoonish look,
which although charming might be
misunderstood at first sight.
The irregular forms of the chair
were inspired by the intersecting
planes of the digital landscape
created in Tron: Legacy. I am
particularly interested in expressing
and translating the idea of collision
between the physical and the
digital explains Benshetrit, the
freedom of the digital and the
constraints of the physical.
Manufactured by leading Italian
furniture company Cappellini, the
project is the second with Disney
after their first collection in 2010.
A chair inspired by the
new sci-fi film Tron: Legacy
marks the second step
of the Cappellini and
Walt Disney Signature
collaboration. Gian Luca
Amadei reports
B03 61 Produce pm ef2:B10/127 132/Produce1/pm/ep/ph/vr1 21/1/11 11:20 Page 63
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
64
Left: a hand-
rendered sketch
exploring colour
and the casting
of shadows
Right: the first
full-scale prototype
constructed from
cardboard boxes
and masking tape,
used to understand
the intersection
of volumes

Benshetrit explored the


interaction between the digital and
the physical for Rosenthal with his
Vase of Phases. That product gives
the appearance of a vase frozen in
time just as it is being smashed
into pieces. Beyond such fancy
effects though, Benshetrit is
interested in the cultural content
of contemporary design.
Today, more than ever before,
people find their inspiration in
movies it becomes a strong
cultural vector. If this vector
conveys inspiration for designing
home/interior design pieces, then
that is part of our environment,
explains Benshetrit.
Despite its angular and
unapologetic appearance, the Tron
chair is a surprisingly haptic piece
of design, with the smooth, silky
finish of its surfaces. This is further
enhanced by the choice of colour,
which is not easy to define
somewhere in between grey and
petrol blue. The high level of detail
comes from the rotomoulding
process that Cappellini adapted
specifically for this project by
carefully calibrating a new formula
of recycled plastic. This technology,
which has been around for over a
B03 61 Produce pm ef2:B10/127 132/Produce1/pm/ep/ph/vr1 20/1/11 20:17 Page 64
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
65
Right: one of the
final renders of
the Tron Armchair
presented before
production began
Left: a wireframe
computer rendering
exploring how each
volume intersects
with another. Some
of the otherwise
straight grids are
then distorted to
add contrast

century, consists of one full-scale


mould mounted on a rotating base.
A liquid mix of plastic is sprayed
into the mould; as the mould starts
to rotate, the liquid adheres to its
surfaces and dries.
Other companies refused to
manufacture the mould for the Tron
chair explains Giulio Cappellini, I
do believe that to be competitive,
we need to continuously push the
boundaries of design and
production, to offer products that
are original in design and
technological content.
The biggest challenge for
Cappellini in production was the
investment in tools for the mould
and working with the plastic. Four
individually customised pieces of
the Tron chair were presented at
Design Miami in December. We are
still experimenting in getting the
right formula for the plastic in
order to make an even more
emotional object that is smoother
to the touch says Cappellini.
When the Italian entrepreneur
was first invited by Disney to
consider a design collaboration with
the American firm, he tried to
understand what the two might
have in common. When I visited
B03 61 Produce pm ef2:B10/127 132/Produce1/pm/ep/ph/vr1 20/1/11 20:17 Page 65
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
66
Armchair by Dror has brought new
attention to the project and
Cappellini is moving forward with
determination and excitement.
This project has brought some
positive challenges, Disney is very
open-minded and responsive. We
have more work ahead to finalise
the Tron chair, he concludes.
The new Tron Armchair will be
officially launched at the Saloni
Milan in April 2011.
Disneys HQ in California for the
first time, I discovered an
extraordinary world, the spirit of
Disney can still be sensed in there.
Walt Disneys visionary interest in
design pushed him to promote such
projects as the Monsanto House of
the Future in 1957.
When the Cappellini-Disney
project was first launched in Milan
last year, it was received with some
scepticism, however the Tron

Right: a rear view


of one of the four
Tron chairs
presented in Miami.
Each chair was
hand-painted by
Dror Benshetrit
Left: a cast of the
underneath surface
of the chair, which
includes four feet.
The roto-moulding
technique allows
large pieces to be
produced at once
B03 61 Produce pm ef2:B10/127 132/Produce1/pm/ep/ph/vr1 20/1/11 20:18 Page 66
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
67
Above: a still from
Tron: Legacy. The
house slots into
the cliff face, its
futuristic interiors
juxtapose the
rawness of the
rock formation
Below left: a view
of the final Tron
chair showing its
many irregular
facets in detail
and the smooth,
silky texture of
its surfaces
B03 61 Produce pm ef2:B10/127 132/Produce1/pm/ep/ph/vr1 21/1/11 11:22 Page 67
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REVIEW
What would space travel look like if
the Russian Mir space station had
been bought by rogue entrepreneurs
and kept in orbit for private
enterprises to use? No doubt it would
have accelerated today's feverish race
to develop space tourism and been a
catalyst for other commercial
enterprises. It would have also
affected the Soviet-American
relationship, most likely for the
worse. Director Michael Potter's debut
documentary, Orphans of Apollo,
suggests all of the above was a real
prospect not long ago, when in 1999
a group of space enthusiasts and
businessmen tried to buy the Mir.
The film features interviews with
the main protagonists of the project
a group of entrepreneurs, some of
whom refer to themselves as
'anarcho-capitalists' as well as NASA
and former Mir administration, other
space experts and enthusiasts. It
traces the events leading up to and
after the failed attempt to take part
ownership of the Mir space station to
prevent its impending decommission.
The group, made up of members from
an alternative organisation The Space
Frontier Foundation was driven by
69
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
ORPHANS OF APOLLO
Directed by Michael Potter
www.orphansofapollo.com
Review by Gwen Webber
>>FILM
Right: Gus
Gardellini (left)
and Rick
Tumlinson, two of
the Orphans,
explore a capsule
Below: the familiar
markings of the
Russian letter O
and the Anarchists'
signature A in the
poster point to the
film's anti-
American and
anti-establishment
overtoness
B
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F
A
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C
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M
disenchantment at America's post-
Apollo efforts to re-launch man into
space and build on the moon. When
the Nixon administration pulled the
funds from the space programme, an
underworld of self-initiated and
privately-funded space organisations
rallied around and set out to
continue space exploration, inspired
by the initial promise of 1969s
successful moon landing. 'As Apollo's
children, we were now Apollo's
orphans, we'd been left out in the
cold,' says Rick Tumlinson, space
activist and entrepreneur.
The members of the Space
Frontier Foundation enlisted wealthy
telecommunications businessman
Walt Anderson, who believed that
space should be the domain of the
private sector. Without needing much
persuasion Anderson put $7m behind
the plan to part-privatise Mir. At the
time, the USA was putting pressure
on the economically crippled Russia
to honour its agreement to help build
the International Space Station. That
entailed Russia destroying Mir,
despite the fact that the newest parts
of its modular structure (core parts
had been put in space in 1986) were
only a few years old.
The team approached Russian
agency RSC Inergia, which had been
responsible for running Mir, as well as
for launching Sputnik, the world's
first satellite, in 1957 and making
Yuri Gagarin the first man in space, in
1961 (the first woman, Valentina
Tereshkova, followed in 1963). It set
forth a business plan to its director
Yuri Semenov that tapped into one
of Russia's proudest successes the
countrys frequent superiority over
the Americans in the Space Race.
'The Mir represented all achievements
of our country's modern science and
technology as well as international
ones,' says Semenov. The provocative
nature of the Mir rescue proposal is
a measure of wild west American
culture at that time.
The film allows little room to
misinterpret its implicit anti-
American and anti-establishment
overtones. To take space out of the
hands of a government agency 'and
give it to real people for a real profit',
as author and Rotary Rocket investor
Tom Clancy says, smacks of a
revolution in the way space is seen.
The film expounds the notion that
America, in its role as the premier
capitalist on Earth, is playing at
being the socialists of space.
Meanwhile, the former Soviets of
communist Russia have embraced
capitalism in all its forms when it
comes to space.
The lack of a narrative voice in
the film to give a contextual
setting to whats going on is
problematic and the result is that
interesting questions are raised but
left unanswered. For example, why is
the American government so
concerned that everything put into
space is a potential weapon? The
film's heavy focus on Anderson as a
character despite his absence from
the interviews serves to further
affect a conspiratorial tone when we
discover right at the end that he is
appealing charges of fraud from his
American prison cell.
Space exploration is exciting
because it attracts Utopian ideals and
rewards pioneering spirit albeit in
the long run. Had the orphans of the
Apollo space programme been
successful, it would have signalled
the beginning of a democratic space
age. A decade later, its a new
generation that has taken up the
gauntlet. Robert Bigelow's efforts to
use inflatable structures as a space
station (see page 22) and others'
ongoing work to develop a space
elevator are ideas that stem from a
movement lead by dreamers whose
ventures were apparent failures.
Indeed the film's appeal is the
ambition of its main characters. As Dr
Peter Diamandis, X-Prize founder says,
'the day before something is a
breakthrough, it's a crazy idea'.
TAKE SPACE OUT
OF GOVERNMENT
HANDS AND GIVE IT
TO REAL PEOPLE FOR
A REAL PROFIT,
SAYS AUTHOR AND
ROCKET INVESTOR
TOM CLANCY
B03 69 rev1 hw2 pk:B09 077/rev1/ki 20/1/11 19:49 Page 69
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bp0311 21/1/11 11:04 Page 70
emphasis within jazz music. He
realised the possibility of
transcending the everyday through
mental and physical transformation.
In deference to Girauds unusual
approach, the exhibition is largely
based around themes and characters
rather than a strict chronology
which can be confusing at first to the
non-aficionado. The ground floor
features horizontally laid-out display
cases of original artwork from his
best-loved characters Blueberry,
Major Grubert and more that snake
around the airy open-plan space as a
moebius strip in respect of his
nickname, which he originally coined
to reflect his dual identities (as he
also penned many classic comics under
the name Gir, short for Giraud).
Aside from a few animated
sections on monitors (which are hard
to see at sunny times because of
reflection in the glass) its an effective
approach thats assisted by six
speakers above the different sections
with recordings of the artist
commenting in French on the artwork.
Downstairs is much darker and
includes the artists metamorphic
work. Here the work is hung vertically
some blown-up large and the
addition of a group of podiums of
different heights in the central floor
space with up-lit Ektachrome slides of
more artwork on top like mysterious
stalagmites gives the whole room a
cave-like air. Here are also pages from
notebooks featuring previously
unpublished artworks for the fans
and a slightly self-indulgent, semi-
documentary of the artist again,
probably best left to the die-hards. For
others, though, there is another space
upstairs that presents a brief but
exhilarating 3D animated film (the
artists first) that was made
exclusively for the exhibition.
There are special events for
children despite adult themes,
the work is not too scary or sexual
and more new artworks will be
hung before the exhibition closes. All
of it plays on the idea of
transformation central to Mbius
work, the overall result feels like a
fittingly respectful way to show an art
form that many love but the wider
mainstream art world has rarely if
ever taken seriously.
mysterious extraterrestrial warrior who
travelled across a planet on a half-
mechanical, half-organic bird that he
had to repair every once in a while. It
was aimed at an older audience,
explains Sacramone, but just about
anyone can look at it and enjoy it. You
dont know anything about the
character. You have to invent
everything yourself. It was unlike
anything in contemporary science
fiction at the time.
Despite his numerous visions of
mind-altering situations, Giraud is
not, as has sometimes been lazily
assumed, into mind-altering drugs.
Sacramone says the artist only tried
hallucinogenic mushrooms once and
didnt really like the experience, and
gave up smoking marijuana about 15
years ago. Instead, several defining
visits to Mexico once as a teenager
in the 1950s for eight months when he
followed his mother and her new
partner out there and then again in
the 60s would shape his whole
career. Those trips opened his eyes to
native tribal culture, shamanism, a
very different desert-dominated
landscape and the improvisational
The French artist known as Mbius
may not be globally familiar to many
outside of the world of comic strip art,
but anyone with an interest in science
fiction film will know his work. The
tentacled diva in Luc Bessons The
Fifth Element, the underwater
creatures for James Camerons The
Abyss, plus costumes for Tron and
Alien have all come from the
imagination of Mbius, the nom de
plume of Jean Giraud. Now in his early
seventies, Mbius five-decade career
is the subject of a major exhibition at
the Cartier Fondation in Paris.
The gallery is already known for
pushing boundaries within
contemporary art, recently showing
paintings by filmmaker David Lynch as
well as an exhibition on the history of
graffiti (Born in the Streets). Its an
approach that curator Leanne
Sacramone is passionate about: We
always try to go off the beaten path of
what other institutions would do. To
my knowledge I dont think a comic
book artist has ever been given a solo
show in a major art institution.
More than 400 artworks are on
display in the Jean Nouvel-designed
building, which attest not only to the
artists amazing draughtsmanship but
also his originality in subject matter
and method. Indeed Girauds work on
major sci-fi films only came through
filmmakers awareness of his comic
strips first. As Sacramone points out:
All comic strip artists do storyboards,
which is very close to filmmaking, but
whats different about Mbius is his
incredible imagination, the drawing
technique and the non-linear, non-
narrative structure of many of his
comic strips. In the context of the
1960s and 70s he really brought
grown-up themes to comic books.
Some you have to read a few times,
there are dreams within dreams, plays
on words and more.
A particular breakthrough for
Mbius was Arzach, which first
featured in the magazine Mtal
Hurlant between 1975 and 1976 as
five short stories made up of 35 colour
panels. Arzach had neither words or a
conventional narrative and followed a
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
MBIUS-TRANSE-
FORME
12 October - 13 March 2011
Fondation Cartier, Paris
Review by Guy Bird
>>EXHIBITION
Right: an
illustration from
the story of Arzach,
first published in
the cult French
adult comic
Mtal Hurlant
Guy Bird
is a freelance writer
on design, art, cars
and music who
helped establish
the global street
magazine
Graphotism in the
1990s and now
writes for its sister
title, My Name is?
M

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HE BROUGHT GROWN-
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BOOKS. THERE ARE
DREAMS WITHIN
DREAMS, PLAYS ON
WORDS AND MORE
B03 69 rev2 pm ef hw ef:B08 70/rev3/ki/sd/ta 20/1/11 19:48 Page 123
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BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
72
Arctic Perspective Cahier
No.1: Architecture
Andreas Mller (ed.)
Hatje Cantz, 17.99
Review by Natre Wannathepsakul
>>BOOK
The severe climate of the Arctic poses
one of the most demanding challenges
for architects, be it in designing more
permanent dwellings for the native
inhabitants or the more temporary
structures for the scientists and
researchers who work there. The
establishment of Western-style
townships in the circumpolar regions
by southerners (as everyone else in
the world inevitably is to the Arctic)
disregarded the nomadic lifestyle of
the native inhabitants, who have their
own tradition of building strategies
and an aesthetic deeply tied to their
spiritual beliefs. As more attention
turns towards the untapped resources
of the North, there remain today,
acute misconceptions about the way
of life suitable to its environs.
The Arctic Perspective Initiative
(API) was set up as a non-profit
cultural organisation to direct
attention to the global, cultural, and
ecological significance of the polar
regions. One of its main objectives is
geopolitics and ideologies and the
technological perspective on how to
build in this hostile condition is
promised in future volumes.
What this book promotes is the
argument for an informed, fair and
respectful engagement with the Arctic
environment, its people and their
cultures. Without denying the
advantages of modern technologies,
APIs approach tends towards that of
observer and imitator rather than the
patronising colonialist attitudes of
old. This is demonstrated when the
API crew realise the superiority of
traditional tents to their own dome
ones: Theirs are roomy, dry, and warm
canvas, compared to our nylon domes
that have little more than rooms to
sleep [] always amazed at how fast
the large traditional tents go up in
the development of a model for a
mobile habitat and communication
network for use in the circumpolar
regions. The inquiry centres on
Nunavut, which covers most of the
Canadian Arctic region and is one of
the northernmost permanently
inhabited area in the world, with a
principally Inuit population.
Arctic Perspective Cahier No.1:
Architecture is the first of APIs four
planned publications. Focusing on
architecture, it is divided into three
parts: the first is a documentation of
APIs open competition for a mobile
media-centric habitation and work
unit. The second part comprises
essays describing the traditional
shelters of the indigenous people; the
investigation into mobile structures
by southern architects, with
particular emphasis on the works and
influence of Buckminster Fuller; and a
reassessment of the architectural
works of the architect Ralph Erskine.
The third part of the book
accounts two journeys into the Arctic:
the first a detailed list of the
inventory and instructions for a
voyage to discover the possible
existence of a north-west passage
undertaken in 1818 by the British
explorer John Ross. The second is a
day-to-day report by members of the
API on their expedition in 2009.
The layout of Cahier No.1 is
puzzling and readers should start with
Part 2 and leave Part 1 until last. In
this way one is provided with the
general background of the Arctics
culture and environment, and the
history of the development of mobile
architecture. The inclusion of the
1818 voyage, while providing a
historical backdrop to APIs latterday
journey is superfluous to the
publication. But these are minor
quibbles, as the essays and APIs
fieldwork journal are written to be
informative without being abstruse
and are highly enjoyable. More
detailed analyses of the Arctics
Above right: an
entry for APIs
mobile unit
competition.
The Mediatechs
compact core is
enclosed within
an air-supported
envelope
Below: a modular
design for a mobile
media-centric
habitation and
work unit
comparison to our dome tents.
The most pointed illustration of
a nave attitude towards the
implication of colonisation comes in
the essay by Jrmie Michael
McGowan on the Swedish architect
Ralph Erskine.
Described as the exemplary
architect of modern Arctic indigenous
buildings, he was touted by the
architectural establishment for the
humanitarian concern of his work,
particularly through Architectural
Designs uncritical profile of 1977.
Erskine was taken at his own words,
or rather, his own drawings. The hand-
drawn image for the Resolute Bay
project in Nunavut shows a Utopian
community housed in a cluster of
brightly coloured boxes on stilts,
enclosed within a long coiling
building that acts as a perimeter wall,
shielding against the northern winds
and opened on the southern side to
the sun. Although it cemented
Erskines reputation, it was never
built. But what McGowan finds
problematic is the social and political
context within which Erskines design
was situated.
Erskines Canadian Arctic project
unwittingly or otherwise colluded
with the exploitative programme of
forced integration and relocation
of the indigenous population that had
been carried out by the government
since the 1930s.
The rhetoric Erskine employed
in the 1960s and 1970s in promoting
the northern circumpolar region as
an area replete in natural resources
and ripe for inhabitation bears an
uncanny similarity to the way we talk
about the moon and Mars today.
Similarly, the challenge to configure
a form of shelter that could sustain
human life in these environments
should not blind us to the need for a
careful study and analysis of their
existing natural systems and the
implications that our contact with
them may engender. The conquest of
the Arctic and its consequences may
be a lesson worth revisiting even if
these extraterrestrial bodies are
without sentient life forms as we
would define it.
PROMOTING THE
NORTHERN
CIRCUMPOLAR REGION
BEARS UNCANNY
SIMILARITY TO THE
WAY WE TALK ABOUT
THE MOON AND MARS
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B03 72 rev3 hw ef:B08 70/rev3/ki/sd/ta 21/1/11 12:52 Page 86
Cottage Craft Spirals T: 01663 750716 sales@castspiralstairs.com www.castspiralstairs.com
Tilleys London Castings T: 020 8341 5975 tilleyslondon@btconnect.com www.tilleyslondoncastings.co.uk
COTTAGE CRAFT SPIRALS
Specialist designers and manufacturers of high quality, hand built, bespoke
spiral, helical, straight and combination stairs in cast aluminium and timber
bp0311 21/1/11 12:07 Page 73
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
74
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Company Name
Address and Postcode
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www.website
ECOBUILD PREVIEW
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Company Name
Address and Postcode
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>>
W blueprintmagazine.co.uk
ARMOURCOAT stand S554
Armourcoat announce the addition of
Ductal to their world-renowned product
range at Ecobuild. Developed by Lafarge,
Ductal Ultra-High Performance Concrete
(UHPC) presents a genuine revolution in
the concrete sector. The material
possesses a unique combination of
superior properties including strength,
ductility, durability and enhanced
aesthetics. This enables designers to
develop and realize new sculptural
approaches to concrete forms. Ductal is
ideally suited to the manufacture of
lightweight decorative building faades.
It can be cast in large thin panels with
an outstanding level of surface finish
detail, and has a strength and durability
greater than natural stone. Ductal can be
pigmented to a wide range of colours and
due to the very fine particle size, it will
allow excellent replication of fine surface
detail and texture from the mould.
<<
FORBO stand 151
At this years Ecobuild, visitors to the Forbo Flooring Systems stand, no 151, will take
an interactive journey through the company's impressive environmental initiatives and
achievements across its portfolio of linoleum, project vinyl, carpet tile, flocked flooring
and entrance matting system solutions. Centre stage will be Marmoleum, Forbos
sustainable and biodegradable linoleum. Made from 97% natural raw materials, more
than 37% of which have been recycled, Marmoleum has more independently awarded
eco-labels than any other flooring product in the world, making it the environmental
product of choice for many flooring specifiers. Already available in an extensive choice
of colourways and patterns, Forbo will be launching a new Marmoleum Special Edition
collection at the exhibition The unexpected nature of linoleum.
Forbo Flooring Systems
Forbo Flooring UK Ltd
PO Box 1
Kirkcaldy KY1 2SB
0800 731 2369
www.forbo-flooring.co.uk
Roca, the leading global bathroom brand,
will be exhibiting at Ecobuild 2011, the
worlds largest event for sustainable design,
construction and the built environment.
Showcasing its comprehensive range of
design led, ecologically sound products,
Roca will be present on Stand S555.
Ecobuild provides Roca with the perfect
platform from which to present its latest eco
design credentials and brand initiatives. One
of the key designs on the Roca stand will be
W+W (shown right), Rocas innovative all-in-
one WC and washbasin designed to
maximize space and conserve water. This
ground breaking idea, incorporating Rocas
new water-reuse technology, uses waste
water from the basin to fill the WC cistern,
thereby reducing water usage by up to
25% compared to a standard 6/3 litre
dual-flush WC.
ROCA stand S555
<
<
Armourcoat Ltd
Morewood Close
London Road
Sevenoaks
Kent TN13 2HU
01732 467994
www.ductal.armourcoat.com
Roca Limited
Samson Road
Hermitage Industrial Estate
Coalville
Leics. LE67 3FP
01530 830080
www.roca.com
Milliken Contract will be at Marchs Ecobuild event, presenting recently launched carbon
neutral certified ranges that provide sustainable carpet tiles across a broad spectrum of
public and commercial locations. Situated on Stand S350, Milliken Contract will showcase
its Formwork, Fixation, Shadowbox, Scattergraph and Paste Up collections, along with a
new brochure highlighting the companys innovative approach to sustainability that has
seen it considered as one of the most progressive carpet tile manufacturers. The Southern
Analogue collection, using Aquafil Econyl 95% recycled content yarn will also be
available for view for the first time at Ecobuild.
Milliken Contract
01942 612888
www.millikencontract.co.uk
MILLIKEN CONTRACT stand S350
<
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Kerakoll has just launched an improved latex
additive for use with the H40 adhesive
range, with the added convenience that it is
a one bag one bucket solution making it
extremely easy to use. The new product
which increases thixitropicity and grab does
not contain aldehydes which are known to
cause cancer, and the combination of cement
adhesive and flexible additive is the first to
reach the EC1 standard, which is concerned
with the level of emissions of volatile
organic compounds given off by flooring. In
addition it is lighter in colour so that it does
not affect the colour of the adhesive and is
pleasant to use due to the low level of
odour. The facts that it doesnt change the
consistency of the adhesive making it nicer
to trowel, and that it has a longer pot life
than previously without affecting the setting
time of the adhesive, also mean that it is a
great product to work with.
KERAKOLL stand S360
Kerakoll
01527 578000
www.kerakoll.co.uk
>>
>>
Visit stand s760 at EcoBuild and see Strata Tiles demonstrate our exclusive range of
tiles that not only kills bacteria, removes dirt without abrasive cleaning or chemicals,
but incredibly, can clean the air we breathe. To be exact, 1000 sqm of our tiles
provides the equivalent oxygen to 70 deciduous trees, making this an EcoBuild must
see as the most durable, maintenance and eco friendly collection of products on
display. Bring your diaries too as youll be able to book a CPD visit where we come to
your office with samples, a CPD and demonstration well even supply lunch.
Strata Tiles
0800 012 1454
www.stratatiles.co.uk
STRATA TILES stand S760
<
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BP Products 0311:pg 122/i/w/jdv/sp 20/1/11 18:52 Page 102
T: 01638 500338 F: 05603 419105 W: WWW.ARCHITECTURALTEXTILES.CO.UK
ARCHITECTURAL TEXTILES LTD
Architectural Textiles Ltd, Shardelows Farm House, New England Lane, Cowlinge, Suffolk CB8 9HP
Imagine your walls dripping with high gloss lacquer with a vertical texture! New from
PHILLIP JEFFRIES this LACQUERED STRI wallcovering is embossed with a vertical stri
pattern that is virtually seamless. Too luxurious not to fall in love with, the LACQUERED
STRI is conveniently matched with coordinating solids.
GREAT
CURVES!
Bristans new Oval brassware range takes inspiration from the trend for curves in architecture, cars
and kitchens. Taps and mixers have stylish easy-to-use lever handles and the basin mixer features a
water effcient fow limiter. The collection also includes two thermostatic shower valves which can be
ftted portrait or landscape, and a thermostatic bar valve with adjustable riser.
For further information on Oval visit www.bristan.com, call 0844 701 6273 or email enquire@bristan.com
T70
Now available from Aestus.
For further details please call Aestus on 01902 387080 or
email sales@aestus-radiators.com
Stockists of:
Arper
BestLite
Cassina
Driade
Established & Sons
Flos
Kartell
Magis
Moooi
Santa & Cole
Tom Dixon
Vitra
Zanotta
and many more...
Tel:
www.
0114
2433000
bp0311 21/1/11 12:07 Page 75
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
76
CAESARSTONE Ecobuild stand N710
CaesarStone, synonymous with style and durability, has created their Get Thinner
13mm designer collection, to compliment the existing 20mm and 30mm thick range.
The new range will be showcased at Ecobuild on Stand N710. CaesarStone will also be
exhibiting their full and exclusive colour range. The new selection includes Dusty
Stones, Black Rocks, Buttermilk, Organic White, and Pure White, the definitive white.
Five beautiful new colours introduced to compliment the existing range. CaesarStone is
an engineered quartz-based surface with low maintenance properties that provide an
ease of living that will look great for years to come.
CaesarStone
Charles Babbage Avenue
Kingsway Business Park
Rochdale OL16 4NW
00800 0421 6144
www.caesarstone.uk.com
Create striking designs with light, using Mykons flooring, ceiling tiles, internal hinged
doors, sliding doors, panels and bespoke furniture. Mykon create beautiful modern
transparent or opaque panels to order for contemporary homes and commercial settings,
using a unique aluminium honeycomb core sandwiched between toughened glass or
polycarbonate. For inspiration and case studies please visit www.mykon.com.
Mykon
5 Stukeley Business Centre
Blackstone Road
Huntingdon
Cambridgeshire PE29 6EF
01480 415070
www.mykon.com
MYKON Surface Design Show stand 212
<
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W blueprintmagazine.co.uk
ECOBUILD & SURFACE DESIGN SHOW PREVIEWS
Attendees to this years show will be
able to discover some of the latest
developments from Antron carpet fibre
that has teamed up with SCIN to
explore the theme of colour in
materials. Surfaces and materials
specialist SCIN will showcase companies
that have proven track records as
innovators within their field and Antron
carpet fibre is delighted to once again
have been invited to take part.
Showcasing Antron Lumena and Antron
Legacy yarns, as well as Antron Lumena
carpet fibre with TruBlend fibre
technology, Antron carpet fibre will
present its 2011 Design Tool Kit and will
reveal elements of its Carpet and Space
campaign that explores how a
floorcovering can help to define a space.
ANTRON Surface
Design Show stand 302
Invista Antron carpet fibre
Ermin Street
Brockworth
Gloucester, GL3 4HP
0845 450 6434
enquires@antronfibres.co.uk
>>
NCS Navigator, the new online
colour design application based
on the Natural Colour System.
Easy to use, with free download
via our website. Find specific NCS
colours, develop colourways, and
cross reference between NCS, RGB
and CMYK. Or simply explore the
NCS System as 3D colour space.
All 1,950 NCS colours are
available from major paint and
coatings companies and
referenced in flooring, laminates,
ceramic tiles, glass, cladding, and
much more. You can check the
physical colours with the NCS
Index, Atlas or individual colour
sheets. See us on Stand EPP6 at
Ecobuild.
NCS COLOUR
Ecobuild stand EPP6
NCS Colour Centre
71 Ancastle Green
Henley on Thames
Oxfordshire RG9 1TS
01491 411717
www.ncscolour.co.uk
>>
C.R. LAURENCE Ecobuild stand N710
C.R. Laurence will be exhibiting their range of glass hardware and accessories at
Ecobuild, on Stand N710. The show will take place from 1st to 3rd March 2011 at ExCel,
London, where visitors can view a selection of CRLs extensive product range from
their revolutionary Taper-Loc System to Shower Door Hardware to Laguna Sliding Door
Systems. The Taper-Loc System is a revolutionary new frameless glass balustrade system
for fixing toughened or toughened laminated glass from 12mm - 25.52 mm thick. There
is no need for cement, therefore eliminating mess, and the precision measured control
gives you high quality installations every time. The system is tested to meet the
strictest building code requirements BS6180:1999 and BS6399-1:1996.
C.R. Laurence of Europe
Charles Babbage Avenue
Kingsway Business Park
Rochdale OL16 4NW
00800 0421 6144
www.crlaurence.co.uk
<
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CORIAN Surface
Design Show stand 308
Corian distributors CDUK Ltd are
increasingly supplying this wondrous and
flexible material for architectual
applications and at the Surface Design
Show (stand 308) they will be showing
its full range of capabilities. A model of
the breathtaking Seeko Hotel in Bordeaux
will take centre stage. The playful facade
of convex and concave forms, all in
Corian has made the building an iconic
landmark. King Kong Architecture chose
Corian to create fabulous contoured
exterior cladding using vast panels but
without seeing any joints. Corians
resistance to moisture, heat and UV-rays
makes it as suitable for outdoors as for
indoors. Whats more, the building will
never need painting and will stay looking
pristine for years to come.
<<
CDUK Ltd
0113 201 2240
www.cdukltd.co.uk
BP Products 0311:pg 122/i/w/jdv/sp 20/1/11 18:53 Page 103
| www.fowlerco.co.uk | 01273 423111 | ben@brighton.co.uk |
Fowler & Co. designed and made this striking staircase for an
elegant Edwardian mansion apartment.
The stair strings are laser cut from 12mm thick steel to support
solid Native Oaks treads. A lighting channel runs up the edges of
the stairs to light the lobby below. The staircase hangs sweetly in
the space, with it's glass balustrade.
13 Stratford Road, Kensington, London W8 6RF
Tel: 07771 861939
www.paeredansk.com
pre dansk
BESPOKE SOLID ROSEWOOD TABLES
bp0311 21/1/11 11:05 Page 77
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
78
MILLIKEN CONTRACT
The latest modular carpet from Milliken Contract takes its colour cues from nature
forging striking colour combinations influenced by stormy skies and the intensity of
light as it breaks through the clouds in a dazzling three-dimensional product. As one
half of the newly created Out of the Shadows collection, Scattergraph is created
through Milliken Contracts Convergence
TM
technology, the Tufted Textured Loop Pile is
married with proprietary digital colour placement to create organic texture on the
floorplane, complementing the more structured Shadowbox in a palette of 14 shades.
Milliken Contract
01942 612888
www.millikencontract.co.uk
For designers looking to complement
heritage inspired interiors, Artwoods
Design Paint collection of wood flooring
offers a different and unusual twist on the
theme. With the Design Paint collection,
Artwood offers hand-finished wood flooring
in any Farrow&Ball floor paint finish,
including beautiful tones such as Mouses
Back, Eating Room Red and Tanners
Brown. Each colour within the Design Paint
collection is applied by hand and sealed to
provide a durable and long lasting painted
finish presented on high quality engineered
oak flooring. Artwood Design Paint is
available in both 14mm floating and 22m
structural versions and is backed by a
comprehensive warranty and a full range of
bespoke accessories.
ARTWOOD
PRODUCTS
<
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Artwood Floors
Acton Lane
Park Royal
London NW10 7NB
0845 519 2726
www.artwood-floors.com
Maine recently installed their Mainestream range of drawers and tambour units in a
Financial Institution in London. Also specified were Maineseries31 lockers, pedestals
and bookcases. Mainestream is a modular range of storage units, which allow
streamlined heights and widths across all Maine storage ranges.
Maine
01908 271688
www.maine.co.uk
MAINE
<
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Has the Big Freeze been losing
you money? Now there is no
need to stop working just
because the temperature drops.
Kerakolls Antigelo Eco is an
anti-freeze additive which can
be used in surface preparation
products and any of the Kerakoll
H40 Eco adhesives in conditions
as low as minus 10. The product
accelerates setting and
hardening times and increases
initial mechanical strength,
meaning that you can carry on
working all winter. Kerakoll UK
is a subsidiary of Kerakoll, one
of the leading Italian suppliers
of chemical products for tiles
and construction work.
KERAKOLL
Kerakoll
01527 578000
www.kerakoll.co.uk
>>
>>
To place products contact: Sophia Sahin T +44 (0)20 7936 6856 F +44 (0)20 7936 6813 E sophia.sahin@blueprintmagazine.co.uk W blueprintmagazine.co.uk
Miele's MasterCool refrigeration and wine
storage appliances are state-of-the-art
products designed to exceed the
expectations of the discerning consumer,
and offer unique solutions to preserve food
and wine easily and safely without
sacrificing freshness or texture. These
appliances are crafted using only the
highest quality materials, cutting-edge
cooling technology and Miele's proprietary
electronics made at our headquarters in
Gtersloh, Germany. In every aspect, from
the high performing dual cooling system to
the intuitive MasterCool touch controls,
Miele's legendary reliability is apparent,
giving you peace of mind that your quality
food and valuable wines are protected.
Feast your eyes on these pioneer appliances
which are set to become the new standard
in large capacity refrigeration and wine
storage units.
Miele
0845 365 6600
www.miele.co.uk
MIELE <<
KHRS
Khrs has launched its new World
Collection, which provides an eco-
friendly alternative to a tropical wood
floor. The new sustainable oak floors are
available in 1, 2 and 3-strip designs and
have an authentic exotic stained finish
in a choice of copper/red wine and rich
burnt orange/topaz tones. The launch
follows Khrs removal of all tropical
species from its range, until guaranteed
controlled sources can be found.
Collection styles include red toned 1-
strip Cayenne, 2-strip Chili and 3-strip
Habanero and topaz toned 1-strip
Coriander, 2-strip Nutmeg and 3-strip
Cardamom. Each design features Khrs
glueless Woodloc joint for fast, easy
installation and a durable lacquer
prefinish for easy care. All floors within
the new World Collection feature the
award-winning, eco-friendly construction
patented by Khrs in 1941.
<<
Khrs (UK) Ltd
Unit A4 Cairo Place
Endeavour Business Park
7 Penner Road
Havant
Hampshire PO9 1QN
023 9245 3045
www.kahrs.co.uk.
BP Products 0311:pg 122/i/w/jdv/sp 20/1/11 18:53 Page 104
F L I G H T D E S I G N
T. 0 2 0 8 9 8 0 1 0 0 0 E . I NF O@F L I GHT DE S I GN. CO. UK W. F L I GHT DE S I GN. CO. UK
S TA I RCA S E S | B A L US T RA DE | A RCHI T E CT URA L F E AT URE S
Turnstyle Designs, the English manufacturer of
design-led iconic ironmongery, introduce the
specially commissioned woven leather tube
made in Italy. The luxury and craftsmanship in
this new range of door levers and door pulls
are carefully bonded to plated brass door levers
and pulls. The leather, as with all Turnstyles`
products, is strong and durable and will age
beautifully with use.
TURNSTYLE DESIGNS
01271 325 325
www.turnstyledesigns.com
sales@turnstyledesigns.com
bronze & pewter door hardware
www.louisfraser.co.uk
free brochure 0845 003 7522
LOUIS FRASER
bp0311 21/1/11 11:05 Page 79
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
80
THE INTERIORS GROUP
The Interiors Group have completed a
24,000 sq ft refurbishment of the first
and ground floors at 89 Albert
Embankment, London, for the charity who
run both Comic Relief and Sports Relief.
Comic Relief, which many of us associate
with both the Red Nose Day campaign
and Sports Relief, use the money raised
from these events towards helping
poverty stricken people all over the world.
The brief given to The Interiors Group and
Jump Studios by Comic Relief, was to
produce a simple design on a tight
budget. A central hub has been created
by, The Interiors Group, by building a new
staircase to link the two floors together.
This relocation entailed reorganising how
people worked together and has created a
better flow of communication and team
atmosphere. As always, The Interiors
Group have carried out work at Comic
Relief with pure consistency according to
the brief that they were given.
<<
SAMUEL HEATH
Perko Powermatic concealed door closers have been used as part of the 220 million
refurbishment of The Savoy, London, one of the worlds most iconic hotels.
The capital citys largest ever hotel restoration project has involved the rebuilding or
redesign of all guestrooms and public areas, the introduction of an entirely new services
infrastructure and the structural stabilisation of the hotels listed riverfront faade
World-renowned hotel architects, ReardonSmith led the design team for this prestigious
project, developing and implementing interior design schemes created by Pierre-Yves
Rochon, which heighten the level of glamour and sense of luxury for which The Savoy is
famed across the globe.
Samuel Heath & Sons
Leopold Street
Birmingham B12 0UJ
0121 766 4216
www.samuel-heath.com
In a further extension to its comprehensive range of LED lights Collingwood Lighting
has introduced three fixed directional ground marker lights, which, thanks to these
opposing beams, are ideal for installation in any location around the edges, corners,
or even the middle of any ground space. A extremely versatile range, featuring high
powered Luxeon LEDs, the unique new marker lights GL062, GL063 and GL064 emit
a warm white glow in two, three and four directions respectively. These new cats-eyes
style lights may be installed either as part of the internal dcor or in outdoor spaces.
Collingwood
Brooklands House
Sywell Aerodrome
Wellingborough Road
Sywell
Northampton NN6 0BT
01604 495151
www.collingwoodlighting.co.uk
COLLINGWOOD
PRODUCTS
<
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<
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The Interiors Group
020 7495 1885
www.interiorsgroup.co.uk
Easy to maintain, hardwearing and with a forgiving aesthetic that could be tied in with
corporate identity, carpet tiles from Milliken Contract fulfilled the brief set by Bank of
China for its London offices. Snap Back from the Straight Talk collection has been
installed throughout working, breakout and courtyard areas of the building to a total of
5,000m
2
. The standard Snap Back pattern has been adapted with the addition of an
accent red in courtyard and breakout areas, reflecting the brand colours of the financial
institution. Using a standard dark colour throughout all areas to minimise the appearance
of soiling, Bank of Chinas corporate identity was further enhanced with the use of grey.
Milliken Contract
01942 612888
www.millikencontract.co.uk
MILLIKEN CONTRACT
<
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New from Design at Knightsbridge is
Lugano, an extensive range of
upholstered seating for the hospitality
sector created for the company by design
consultant James A Wright. Intended to
set a distinguished tone in lounge and
reception areas, bars, restaurants and
bedrooms, Lugano includes handsomely
proportioned two- and three-seat sofas,
together with upright/easy armchairs and
club chairs in both compact and easy
versions. The design story throughout is
characterised by graceful sloping arms
and softened angles, with style options
embracing plain, diamond-buttoned or
fluted backs. Each model in the Lugano
range can be upholstered to suit
customer requirements, and a range of
show-wood finishes is available.
DESIGN AT
KNIGHTSBRIDGE
Design at Knightsbridge
01274 731900
design@knightsbridgefurntiture.co.uk
www.design-at-knightsbridge.co.uk
>>
To place products contact: Sophia Sahin T +44 (0)20 7936 6856 F +44 (0)20 7936 6813 E sophia.sahin@blueprintmagazine.co.uk W blueprintmagazine.co.uk
Distinctive Pearlazzo PUR is the latest
homogeneous product to be launched by
leading commercial vinyl floorcoverings
manufacturer Polyflor. Designed for the
modern commercial environment,
Pearlazzo PUR delivers the inherent low
maintenance and durability benefits
expected of a Polyflor homogeneous PUR
product while pushing the boundaries of
vinyl flooring decoration. The striking 24-
shade colour palette, a combination of
vibrant and neutral shades, has been
achieved by blending tonal chips and
pearlescent flakes fused into a solid
base colour for a unique decorative
option. Beneath the bold colours and
modern design, hardwearing Pearlazzo
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POLYFLOR <<
BP Products 0311:pg 122/i/w/jdv/sp 21/1/11 15:09 Page 105
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
81
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bp0311 21/1/11 11:05 Page 81
BLUEPRINT MARCH 2011
82
Mars Base 10 is a plan for a permanent settlement on Mars designed by Czech
architect Ondrej Doule. The project was developed by Doule when he was an intern
at the NASA Ames facility in California and completed at the International Space
University in Strasbourg, France, where Doule now works as a researcher. Split over
three floors, the design includes sleeping quarters, bathrooms, laboratories, gyms,
a kitchen and a bar distributed radially from the base. The upper floor houses a
control room and briefing centre that will offer panoramic views of the Martian
surface. The inflatable structure assembles itself after landing and is powered by
solar panels and a nuclear reactor. Greenhouses and biospheres will provide food
and process waste as well as recycling water for missions that are expected to last
one-and-a-half years. www.isunet.edu
MAN AND MACHINE
ONDREJ DOULE
B03 82 Man+machine ef hw ef:B09 90 paper city/ki 24/1/11 19:10 Page 82
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