bjarke ingels group (BIG) has teamed up with ICON, developer of advanced construction technologies, and SEArch+ (space exploration architecture), to work with NASA on the research and development of a space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the moon. titled ‘project olympus’, the sustainable lunar habitat designed by BIG and ICON is the first human foray into extra-terrestrial construction. the team says that the project’s robust structures provide better thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protection than that offered by metal or inflatable habitats.

bjarke ingels group moon
image by BIG-bjarke ingels group



‘to explain the power of architecture, ‘formgiving’ is the danish word for design, which literally means to give form to that which has not yet been given form,’ says bjarke ingels, BIG’s founder and creative director. ‘this becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond earth and begin to imagine how we are going to build and live on entirely new worlds. with ICON we are pioneering new frontiers — both materially, technologically, and environmentally. the answers to our challenges on earth very well might be found on the moon.’

bjarke ingels group moon
image by BIG-bjarke ingels group



in partnership with NASA’s marshall space flight center in huntsville, alabama, ICON will test lunar soil simulant with various processing and printing technologies. the tests will help design, develop, and demonstrate prototype elements for a possible future full-scale additive construction system that could print infrastructure on the moon. the new partnership builds upon technology ICON demonstrated during NASA’s 3D printed habitat challenge in 2018. ‘building humanity’s first home on another world will be the most ambitious construction project in human history and will push science, engineering, technology, and architecture to literal new heights,’ adds jason ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON.

bjarke ingels group moon
image by BIG-bjarke ingels group



recognized on a global scale for innovative ‘human-centered’ designs for space exploration, SEArch+ has over a decade-long association with NASA’s johnson space center human habitability division, langley research center, ames research center, and leading aerospace corporations. ‘ensuring the safety of astronauts is primary to our work at SEArch+,’ says the company’s co-founders. ‘the creation of aspirational spaces that enrich and celebrate human life is central to our role as architects and designers as is making places that will allow people to thrive on distant planets. at SEArch+, we believe that 3D printing with indigenous materials is not only a fantastic practical solution but will prove to be critically vital to our species’ survival both here on earth and in outer space.’

bjarke ingels group, ICON, and SEArch+ design lunar habitat for life on the moon
image by SEArch+



‘project olympus’ is BIG’s second project in outer space following ‘mars science city‘, currently being developed in dubai as a prototype for exploring the building technologies that humanity would need to reside and thrive on the red planet. like ‘mars science city’, ‘project olympus’ will address eight of the 17 UN sustainable development goals, related to the built environment of our planet. see more projects by bjarke ingels group on designboom here, including the recently unveiled ‘AI CITY’.



project info:


name: project olympus
type: commission
size: 195.5 sqm / 2,104 sqf
location: moon
client: ICON
collaborators: NASA, SEArch+


BIG-bjarke ingels group
partners-in-charge: bjarke ingels, martin voelkle
project leader: julian ocampo
team: siqi zhang, rasam aminzadeh, jenna dezinski, fabian lorenz, guillaume evain, jakob lange