Habitability and the Golden Rule of Space Architecture



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


The social, psychological and also spatial significance of living in an extraterrestrial environment place demands not only on the type of persons who would be "best fit" to inhabit such environments but also on the living spaces that must be crafted to support human habitation in such environments. One of the critical characteristics for living and working in those environments "and thus mission success" is the dependency on the habitat, its technological capability as well as the capacity to counteract the stresses of a closed loop, extreme environment. Historically, such habitats have lacked all but the merest attention to such details with a focus primarily on surviving rather than thriving. This is changing and the built environment is slowly becoming an accepted important factor to ensure both physical and psychological wellbeing. The challenge for the design of off-Earth facilities is a permanent trade-off between the needs of resources and our technological capability. Designing for that kind of environments basically means making use of every possible item that you bring and bringing only what is absolutely necessary. Making Use of what you have or making do without is what we call "The Golden Rule of Space Architecture". This paper highlights relevant concepts of the term Habitability for isolated, confined and extreme (ICE) environments from the user perspective of available resources. Examples of enhancing social cohesion and reduction of stress literally "by design and built architecture" are discussed.


Sheryl Bishop, University of Texas Medical Branch, US
Sandra Haeuplik-Meusburger, TU Wien space-craft Architektur, AT
James A. Wise, Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design, US
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


habitability, space habitat, social logic, psychological wellbeing, isolated and confined environments