Personal Space: Barbara Imhof on Space Architecture

Interview Living Space Inspiration

Her job of planning focuses on the environments architects can provide to people who travel from here to there. Though still a bit utopian, this idea embraces considerations of what people face when departing from "here" to take up residence on the moon, Mars or any other planet. Imhof completed her studies of Architecture by doing a Master’s in Space Studies at the International Space University of Strasbourg. Building on inter-disciplinary collaboration with researchers from a variety of disciplines, she subsequently carried out a number of projects, including for NASA. Together with designer Susmita Mohanta, also an expert in outer space, she now heads an architectural studio under the name of "Liquifer".

While the question of living in permanent isolation might have been of widespread interest during the Cold War, when private households were building their own bunkers, space travel has always been a technology-driven engineering task.

But the personal well-being of men and women defying the laws of gravity in space stations and shuttles is important too. Astronauts are supposed to live and feel at home in spaceships. However, rather than installing cozy corners or decorative hangings, visibly improving their environment implies physical support of their mental stamina. By analysing the needs of human beings who are away from their home planet for a fairly long time, we eventually gain important insight into what our future living "here" will look like. Incidentally, once we can simply beam ourselves from one place to another, the long journey will become a cozy trip indeed, thanks to Anton Zeilinger, or Scotty.


Lilli Hollein