Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Theodore Trent Green, M. Arch.

Committee Member

Kenneth P. Kroger, M. Arch.

Committee Member

Richard F. Penza, M. Arch.


Mars, permanent colony, modular, space architecture, programmable matter


The evolution of human beings is marked

by adaptation. The ability to adapt to and

manipulate our environment is one definer of

intelligence, and ours is unique among life

on Earth. Since moving off of the African

Continent, humans have migrated to inhabit

every part of the Earth. Human existence

and perpetuity in the universe depends upon

the success of this adaptation, and inevitably,

migrating off of this planet. The technological

advances being developed today will change

our way of life, and enable people to travel to

and live permanently on the Moon and Mars.

This study involves the architectural design

and construction of a completely programmable

permanent Martian settlement in the year


Previous studies and proposals for

Martian architecture rely mostly on existing

technology. The first people are not expected

to reach Mars until 2030, and new and emerging

technologies will radically affect the designs

being considered today. Technical challenges

constrain designers of space architecture

today, and scientific developments will solve

many of these. This study seeks to explore

how new technology can positively affect the

architecture of the future, affording more

comfortable and livable space on Mars.

With a construction date of 2050, this

project differs from others by benefitting from

the next four decades of profound technological

advancement. Leading Futurist Raymond

Kurzweil predicts that the technological

singularity is within this time frame, and that

the 21st Century will, “Witness on the order

of 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate

of progress) (Kurzweil, Law of Accelerating

Change).” This thesis theorizes that

nanotechnology will enable the deployment of a

completely self-constructing and programmable

permanent Martian settlement designed from

a series of spatial modules. The anticipated

results include a modular system of architectural

spaces, and an increased awareness of the

architectural benefits of emerging technologies

as they relate to future space architecture.