3.4.9. Settlement Construction Areas
These are provisional areas to carry on the further construction of the settlement. They are conceived as inflatable moving structures that can be brought from one place to another when a settlement construction is finished and another one starts. Some of the facilities can be conditioned, just pressurized or non-conditioned as needed.
To compensate the inner pressure that tends to lift the building up, wires are attaching it to the ground in a tent type like structure.
3.4.8. Nuclear System Areas
These facilities need to be away of the living areas but not much in order to minimize the wiring and the energy loses. Therefore a berm strategy would allow allocating, inside one ring, three nuclear reactors in individual spaces protected by Martian regolith berms preventing direct exposure of the surroundings to the radiation. Perimeter circulation would provide access to the interior of these spaces. In the accesses are placed the nuclear control room and the cooling tower for each of the reactors inside the berms.
3.4.7. Mining and Refining Areas
These are external areas dedicated to the temporary storage of materials coming from the mining areas and the refining of the materials to further use and manufacture.
They would be organized also in a ring basis with a perimeter ground circulation for trucks and vehicles and inner organization in six (6) piles of different materials. Staging area would be provided through inflatable structure that would allow a occasionally pressurized inner space. Gas plant and deposits would also be placed inside the ring.
3.4.6. MEP and Water/Waste Areas
The main concept in these facilities is that of a goblet: an elevated reservoir of water supported on a foot that actually contains other activities that requires pressurized conditions. The reservoirs should also be pressurized to avoid the water evaporate but would not require the same level of pressurization.
In this building the inner pressure is kept by a steel plate surface built with steel plates of about 90cm wide attached together by continuous welding. These plates would work also as outer structure to protect against sand storms. In the interior of the “foot facilities”, gel bags would protect from radiation and they would be covered with fiber glass panels as revetment.
The foot would then contain several floors to allocate support activities such as water purification facilities and mechanical and electronic equipment rooms.
3.4.5. Maintenance and Repair Areas
Concrete shells could also be used in the Maintenance and Repair Areas where some skylights with 7cm of water could let the light in and work. Several buildings dedicated to this activity would be connected between them and also to the wheeled corridor ring around the settlement. An airlock building in concrete without skylights would provide access to the Martian surface.
3.4.4. Opaque Greenhouses
Opaque Greenhouses would be built using concrete shell technology with a non-reusable inflatable form that would contain the inner pressure. The concrete shell would support the gravity loads of the concrete and the 30cm regolith above it for radiation protection. This technology would allow large span structures, very appropriate for the greenhouses.
Geometry of the building would be shaped using parabolic surfaces that would allow very thin concrete shells as Earth based architecture have demonstrated with very fine examples in the work of Felix Candela, Eduardo Torroja, Pier Luigi Nervi and many others.
Access from the net of pedestrian corridors would be placed in the underground level and plantations would be organized in the upper floor and mezzanine. In the underground water would be also recovered from the plants and initial storage of the vegetables produced. Wheeled access to the main wheeled ring would be provided in order to distribute the production to the other areas.
3.4.3. Transparent Greenhouses
Transparent greenhouses are conceived as large span domes with a primary and secondary ring structure with steel profiles and transparent glass between these secondary structures. They would allocate different plantation to provide the food to the inhabitants of the settlement, but also the water and the oxygen in order to make the system a closed loop with a high regenerative level.
Access from the net of pedestrian corridors would be placed in the underground level and plantations would be organized in the upper floor showing up in the surface. In the underground water would be also recovered from the plants and initial storage of the vegetables produced. Wheeled access to the main wheeled ring would be provided in order to distribute the production to the other areas.
3.4.2. Common Spaces, Labs and Medical
Common space, laboratories and medical facilities will be integrated in a multipurpose steel technology building.
In this building the inner pressure is kept by a steel plate surface built with steel plates of about 90cm wide attached together by continuous welding. These plates would work also as outer structure to protect against sand storms. In the interior, gel bags would protect from radiation and they would be covered with an interior vegetal revetment that would cover big part of the walls and provide a friendlier environment. The presence of plants everywhere in the settlement was already a concept implemented in previous studies undertook by 4Frontiers Corp and Laguarda Architects Inc. in Gen1.0. This is also very important in Gen 1.5 development in order to provide elements that help to the psychological wellness of the community. Plants are providing friendlier environment when you are on Earth, but in Mars they even have more special means as they are the base of the sustainment of life in such a harsh environment: they are the base of the regenerative closed loop needed.
Interior slab structures in steel profiles and plates would also stand on the external steel walls and on interior steel columns that would also provide natural light to all the floors by having mirrors inside and holes on their surface and thus providing each level with a very special zenithal light.
The buildings would have 15 meters diameter and 10 meters height with two floors of multiple functions. The ground level would allocate some laboratories and a medical room together with some storage area. The upper floor would house the kitchen, a hall and living area, some laboratories and a 25 people auditorium. There would be two of these common area buildings with some differences in their layout. One of them would allocate a bigger kitchen and dining room to be the main place where the 21 people of Gen 1.5 meet to have meals together, as this is a very important activity for the wellness of the community. The second common area would also have a small kitchen to serve as a closer facility to the nearby private building.
Laboratories will be closed behind glazed walls and opaque fiber glass panels. Other areas such as the auditorium will be able to be closed by using curtains. Height between floors is intentionally high, about 4 meters and spatial connections between the two floors are provided by having “holes” in the floors. The basement level would be dedicated to other uses such as installations machinery and storage.
The entrance level of the common area buildings is placed in the first underground level in order to give access to the net of pedestrian and wheeled corridors that connect the whole settlement. Three exits are provided from this level to the corridor net while egress exit from the upper level is provided through two staircases placed inside or besides the skylight cylinders.
3.4.1. Private Accommodation
Private Accommodation assumes a construction type of manufactured fiber glass cylindrical vessels. The configuration takes inspiration from the grain silos but special windows going out of the façade will provide a special configuration and image to the building.
During production, a set of steel connections will be left in place in order to provide connecting points to interior structures and windows. Interior structure for horizontal floors would be attached through these connections to an external steel structure that would bring the loads down to the ground through foundations. This exterior main structure would have a secondary structure to carry gel bags for radiation protection and external revetment for sand storms protection. Windows would be attached both on the secondary structure and to the fiber glass steel connections.
There would be two sizes of fiber-glass vessels. One would be 12 meters diameter and 12 meters height. It would fit three storeys of private rooms with 3 rooms in each floor. An underground storey would allocate storage areas and other functions. Two staircases would provide emergency egress to the underground floor and exit from the building. Please refer to 4Frontiers Corp. for further details on this building type.
Another vessel would have 8 meters diameter and 15 meters height. I would also fit three storeys of private rooms with a single room in each floor, and a double room with mezzanine in the third floor. An underground floor would also allocate storage areas and other functions. One staircase would provide emergency egress to the underground level while a bridge on the second floor would connect to the neighbor private accommodation building in order to have a closed egress loop in an emergency situation.
Each floor has a single apartment with an entrance area with vacuum cleaner and storage. Each apartment would have a private bathroom area and living area. Bed would be a mechanism deployed from the wall and wheeled cupboards would move around to provide a more private bedroom if needed.
3.4. Building Description
Considering all environmental challenges, the functional requirement and the technologies discussed a set of initial buildings is proposed for Gen 1.5. This list is not extensive and is also driven by aesthetical concepts when considering the way the light goes into the building, the way the inhabitant perceives the space he is living in and the way he will see his town when approaching with the rover.
The general idea has been to create a system of objects very different between them, that could be an example of each of the technologies chosen and with a strong image that would make it different from its neighbor. They can be seen as archetypes, a series of „pure” shapes that emerge in the Martian surface such as very primitive constructions, closer to a prehistoric era.
It is also decided in this way due to the fact that in the beggining it will probably be more appropiate to have smaller buildings than larger ones. Each of the buildings is then understood as a small entity autonomously driven and connected with its neighbors through underground connections.
When the system will grow into a Gen II settlement, this structure might be changing: more complex and bigger buildings will appear and even replace the old small pioneers that set the foot on Mars. Then, the buildings will grow but still they will be driven by the ring structure that might be able to allocate other structures.
The present document has not arrived that far. A sample of buildings is set up for Gen 1.5 with concrete functions, construction systems and geometrical definition but not for Gen II. In any case, the urban structure in the Gen II chapter already shows bigger and more complex architecture structures. This is however a task for a further development.