ozel office 3D prints mars habitat with carbon and basalt fiber
ozel office 3D prints mars habitat with carbon and basalt fiber
oct 02, 2015

ozel office 3D prints mars habitat with carbon and basalt fiber

ozel office 3D prints mars habitat with carbon and basalt fiber 
all images courtesy of ozel office




ozel office, in collaboration with UCLA department of engineering researchers, was awarded the ‘runner up’ (4th prize) at NASA’s 3D printed habitats competition. the competition called for designers to envision a 4 astronaut dwelling in mars and 3D printed through the use of indigenous resources. 


the ‘hybrid composites’ team is lead by guvenc ozel, an architect, faculty member and researcher at UCLA department of architecture and of the IDEAS platform both supported by expert consultants from UCLA department of engineering and material science, conducting research in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, material sciences, additive manufacturing, and robotics. ozel’s current research at UCLA focuses on the application of robotics and sensors into architecture as well as a collaboration with UCLA engineering on exploring the use of composite materials in building scale 3D printing.

ozel office mars habitat
the overall structure of the habitat is raised off of the ground in order to reduce to amount of ground work 




the premise of their entry lies in this research, where, instead of 3D printing concrete-like shells from local sand, the team proposes to 3D print high performance composite shells through the combination of locally harvested composite fibers soaked in fast curing polymer resins, a 3D printing version of how high-performance boats, planes, satellites, and spaceships are built. primary structural systems will be built by extruding composite fibers woven into various profiles through robotically controlled mandrel systems, in conjunction with a novel resin/polymer catalyst that instantly cures.

ozel office mars habitat
view of the mars habitat from a space vessel 




the composite fibers are made by processing the local martian basalt rocks, in order to create basalt fiber. as a secondary material, they propose carbon fiber, harvested through an artificial photosynthesis chimney, which would suck up the CO2 in the martian atmosphere, to split it into carbon and oxygen molecules. the carbon would be used for creating carbon fiber, and the oxygen would either be stored for later use or released back to the martian atmosphere for a gradual ‘terraforming.’

ozel office mars habitat
view of habitat from underneath the canopy 




a robotically controlled 3D printing head would extrude a structural web-like lattice by weaving basalt and carbon fiber into sleeves, soaked in polymer. composite shells for enclosing the structure would be made of strands woven into flat fabrics soaked in polymer, which are then positioned into the desired place through the help of robotic arms and unarmed air vehicles.

ozel office mars habitat
interior view of the habitat with translucent panels 




the overall structure of the habitat is raised off of the ground in order to reduce to amount of ground work and the foundation footprint. this configuration also allows for sheltering outside equipment such as rovers and robots underneath a canopy and better isolate the living quarters from contaminants.

ozel office mars habitat
plans and elevations of the habitat

ozel office mars habitat

axonometric view and sections

ozel office mars habitat

sourcing and production of basalt and carbon for 3D printing




designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: juliana neira | designboom

  • This look really science fiction. The idea is intriguing, but it requires a high level production facility in very remote conditions. Nowadays, we merely get it managed to send a semi autark robo car – but a multi step production line is too sensitive to failure of one component. Here on earth, we can get everything fixed. On mars, this is it and the whole project is doomend if only one component fails.

  • When we finally colonize Mars, something like what is presented here will be how it’s done. I envision robots being sent ahead of the permanent base to build habitable structures, collect and store essentials like water and breathable air, and have it all set up ahead time. Then we develop it into a permanent base with rotating crews like we do now on the space station. Eventually, we have permanent settlements.


    Greg Olsen
  • Let’s put something inside of the sculpture I created and put it in a currently popular destination.
    It looks like a new ruin.

    Ron Smith

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