Architect honoured by Nasa for Martian home design

A STAR architect from Hong Kong has won an international award for his design of a home for astronauts on Mars.

Sidney Tang (鄧煒鴻), 31, designed an institute that includes a laboratory, bedrooms and communication center for spacemen.

Tang is the only designer from Hong Kong to reach the top 30 finalists of the 538 taking part.

He went on to win an honourable mention in the Nasa (美國太空總署) 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which is equivalent to fifth place.

His ‘Martian Dome’ uses three circular domes arranged in an overlapping triangle formation.

The plan suggests for robots to build it using 3D printing and construction materials that can be recycled.

“The material that I have used in the design, ETFE (氟塑膜) ─ a kind of plastic ─ is found in Hong Kong as well, though not widely used,” said Tang.

“I like the spirit of it, that it is inflatable and expands when you put gas in it.”

ETFE was also used in the outer surface of Beijing’s Water Cube (水立方) and the Bayern Munich Allianz Arena.

Tang is acutely aware of the gulf between allowing his imagination free rein on Mars and in a cramped environment such as Hong Kong.

“I think the idea of architecture is that you have to display what you have with given resources and limitations,” he said.