For the Techtextil ‘Living in Space’ exhibition UNStudio and MDT-tex have created, Prototype II, a modular shelter which envisions how we might one day live on the moon or on Mars. The design is inspired by foldable structures and the need for lightweight and compact transport into space. In the Techtextil installation the self-supporting pavilion serves as a space in which guests can experience a trip to Mars in virtual reality - as represented by co-exhibitors the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).
The primary material component of the shelter is PTFE membrane. A textile of the highest performance, PTFE provides a durable, yet translucent and lightweight infill. As a textile PTFE provides more uses and formal flexibility than other architectural materials, such as composites or lightweight metals. However, like any other textile, PTFE can be custom woven— with open weaves and colour integration—to match the needs of any cladding or pavilion project. When used in an architectural context, textiles must be combined with other materials to allow for a fixed shape and strong connections. As with its predecessor prototype, Eye_Beacon, Prototype II uses an aluminum and steel frame in each panel to accomplish this.
UNStudio Ben van Berkel with Rob Henderson, William de Boer, Piotr Kluszczynski, Ke Quan
Producer MDT-tex: Markus Müller-Feist, Dr. Shankar Jha, Samer Alqutifani and Gennadi Rosin