Description of the design competition :

In collaboration with the R.E.A.P. (Student Association in Landscape Architecture from the University of Montreal) and the Association of Architecture Students of McGill University, this ideation contest was intended to generate innovative ideas and encourage student to reflect on a scenario with undeniable potential:

How to live on Mars ?

We invited students to think about a project on the red planet and to demonstrate how design can solve complex problems.

To see the photos of the launching of the contest
March 13th 2017: Click here

To see the pictures of the ceremony of exhibition
April 7th 2017: Click here

To see all the student projects, scroll down this page:


The goal was to create a proposal that met a set of constraints. We wanted to offer the chance to experiment with proposals that are impressive, futuristic, but relevant. The results of the competition were broadcasted via an exclusive exhibition at the Cosmodôme of the city of Laval, Quebec, throughout the summer of 2017.



The participants had to show us how their design dealt with the following issues:

•"How to develop living environments and sustainable ecosystems taking into account realistic socio-economical scenarios?"

"How can / should the design enhance the living standards of human beings while revolutionizing the concepts of industrial design, interior design, architecture, landscape architecture or urban planning, in a world with no referral or no past nor history? "

• "How can we learn from the failures of urban development in recent centuries to create an ideal model for sustainable development?"

The only constraints were to choose a clear and real geographic location on Mars. Participants could choose to project themselves in time as far out as they desired. The scale of application and the very purpose of each of the proposals could be very different, but still all have the same goal.

· Launching of the workshop:  March 13th 2017

· Emission of projects: March 31st  2017

· Evaluation and deliberation of the jury: March 31st 2017

· Exhibition and Awards Ceremony: April 7th  2017




CYR Simon, UDO Alexandre, VALBOUSQUET Marion

Click on the image below to see the whole poster:


Syrtis One:

The environment on Mars presents many unique challenges when designing a colony. These include an atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide, large temperature fluctuations and physical hazards ranging from dust storms to micrometeorites and UV radiation.

It is also important to take into account the psycho-sociological risks associated with being stationed in isolated and confined places. In this way, architecture brings solutions with it's solid and comfortable design, it's skylights, it's contact with nature and it's separations between spaces: noisy and quiet, public and private, professional and domestic.

The station is located in the heart of a crater 2km in diameter, in the region of Syrtis Major, characterized by it's dark basaltic tones. As a former volcanic area, the heat of the site could have led to hot springs and melting ice. Thus, Syrtis Major would have been a refuge for microbial life. It is therefore a very favorable site for the establishment of a first colony.

The North Arc crater is used to optimize the use of solar and wind energy. The installation is set up underground to limit radiation, and a large geodesic dome overlooking the common "hub" including the living and work space. Through a central well of light, each level has a source of natural lighting. Circulation and  technical connection are set up in a central core connected to the levels by footbridges. While housing islands are multiplying around the central pole. These include 3 housing units located around a micro-garden overlooking a geodesic dome.

The programmatic concept is to interconnect the 3 fundamental nuclei to the success of the colony: Life / Nature / Science.

With a planned colonization period spanning  150 years, the SYRTIS ONE concept aims to multiply in many surrounding craters interconnected by a train "hyperloop".



CHEN Mia, CAI Zhong, JI Zeng, XUI Ruichen, TSENG Jo-Yu


Click on the image below to see the whole poster:


Hydro Groundrscrapper:

The concept is to create an underground vertical community that not only supports life, but allows a pleasant dwelling on an extraterrestrial planet. The system is based on an essential element of human survival: water. It is acknowledged that the latter exists on Mars, only buried deep under the ground in the form of frozen oceans. The groundscraper aims to dig deep into the ground in order to reach and then melt that water and then propel it to the surface, transformed into a protective layer for habitation. With water, we can produce food and energy and see a community emerge on Mars! The vertical city was designed to expand over time proportionally to its population.

The water tower not only allows the realization of the protective dome, it also serves for water distribution for plantations throughout the community. Indeed, it serves as a vertical transport mean and additionally  supplies all hydroponic and aquaponic planting tubes, which greatly improves the living environment of its inhabitants.

The vertical city’s program consists of residential, commercial and institutional parts. The same programs are repeated on different levels to provide the inhabitants according to their needs. The climate changes, depending on the circulation of warm air from bottom to top. Thus, we find a variety of vegetation on different levels and this phenomenon allows residents to enjoy varied landscapes on Mars ! In addition, climate changes enhances a wide variety of plants to flourish under the dome.



DAIGNEAULT Louis-Éric, KRAUTH Félix, LEICK Christophe,  MARTEL Jean-François


Click on the image below to see the whole poster:



Prometheus is the project launched in 2017 following the XENOS INITITIATIVE scientific convention on the next stage of space exploration: the implantation of humanity on Mars. Several prototypes of dwellings were already thought of at the time, but the Earth wanted more than just locking up its inhabitants in cans and separating them from the natural environment for the rest of their lives; it wanted to give these great travelers the opportunity to relive the sensation of feeling the fresh air of the mountains, to see the snow falling or to bathe in a lake.

Mars requires “Terraforming”

Terraforming : a process that aims to modify the properties (chemical, climatic, atmospheric) of a planet, in order to allow the survival and durability of a life of terrestrial type.

Earth-related issues are Martian solutions. By polluting the new planet enough, it is possible to create a viable atmosphere for its future inhabitants and it is in this aim that Prometheus fits. The numerous private and institutional missions that make up the project span nearly a century and ironically aim for a lasting and effective solution to the pollution challenge. The project is simple: send previously assembled structures into Earth's orbit to the poles of the red planet. From the top of their 360 meters, they converge by its reflective panels the solar rays towards the caps of dry ice there, composed of CO2. This action contributes to the significant emission of greenhouse gases in the entire atmosphere and once the increase of 4 degrees Kelvin is reached on the whole planet, global warming is triggered by itself, same as the passive terraforming of Mars.

In addition to being the first step in bringing life to Mars, Prometheus carries life. Between it's walls is a bank of plant seeds, which are kept in the ideal conditions offered by the poles of the planet. It does not matter if a failure persists in the perilous project of bringing humanity to Mars, there will always be a way to find the foundations of life now.



CUNY Éloïse


Click on the image below to see the whole poster:


Nero Suit:

Run, jump, bend; the NERO SUIT allows it. While exploring the red planet, it is important to be able to move without too much difficulty. Not only because it would slow down many basic processes such as walking, but it would also be time consuming, and time is clocked relatively to the oxygen diffused in the suit. Equipped with this suit, the user can achieve many more tasks than with current suits. He can bend down to dig, work the ground, jump to climb ...

Since the Apollo mission, space suits have evolved tremendously. Indeed with nearly 50 years of space exploration many things have been discovered, and many still remain to be discovered. But the suits are still very wide and constrain movement.

The suit:
Compared to the one worn by astronauts today, it is like a second skin. It compresses the body in order to obtain the necessary pressure (because on Mars the pressure is 170 times lower than on Earth). And thanks to a hybrid textile, it recovers solar energy very present on Mars to feed the accessories included in the helmet.

The main textile is white in order to reject  sun rays ; and reduce the heating effect produced while wearing the suit. The knee pads enhance mobility and provide extra protection and shock resistance. It is a comfortable suit to wear as it follows the shape of the body. The fabrication of each suit will be tailored to each individual user’s morphology.

The helmet  allows broad visibility by its shape and ergonomics. It also optimizes freedom of movement, because not integrated into the suit, as well as an ideal respiratory system. The circulation is integrated to the helmet as seen above.

The Mars Exploration Boots are similar to those worn by astronauts during the Apollo Mission. They have a sturdy footbed to face the rocky terrain and protect from any external elements that adversely affect the safety of the user. They are easily put on, and removed,  thanks to the fastening system presented above. The main textile (in white) is essentially made of Kevlar.




CHIORI Manon, DIONNE Meaghen, DUCHARME Olivier, POULIN Justin


Click on the image below to see the whole poster:

One of the main challenges of the Red Planet's home model is the interplanetary transportation of the resources needed to build an infrastructure that supports life. The cost of transporting any material from Planet Earth to Mars is over $ 10,000 per kilogram. It is therefore fundamental, both for economic and ethical reasons, to optimize the fabrication of installations on Mars using local materials.

For this purpose, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology propose using two resources found in abundance in solid form in the Martian system: sand and sulphide, to create "Martian concrete".

In fact, by mixing the sand with the heated sulphide in its liquid state, a powerful cement is produced during the cooling of the latter, which acts as an agent binding the sand particles while cooling to its solid state. The only drawback to this solution is the acquisition of the energy needed to warm the liquid sulphide, which has a melting point of 240 degrees Celsius, in a cold Martian climate that varies between -80 and -20 degrees Celsius.

Our architectural design is therefore articulated in the form of an installation optimizing the production of bricks and Martian concrete while attempting to solve the energy problem necessary for the heating of the sulphide. By concentrating the sun's rays on a sulfide container located at the focal point of a giant solar furnace, it is possible to reach temperatures above 400 degrees Celsius. Converted in its liquid form, the sulphide is then conveyed by gravity into a brick production line buried underground.

The articulation of the project, although at first sight Cartesian and rational, draws largely its inspiration on the preservation of the Martian environment. The parabolic shape of the dome structure was initially proposed for its resemblance to the craters that covers the red planet in abundance. Also, all of the facilities required for the production line will be produced under the dome using excavation, thus creating a symbiosis between the extraction of resources needed for the production of concrete and the creation of negative spaces under the Martian soil.





Click on the image below to see the whole poster:

Microcosmes is the prototype of future living environments allowing a conquest between a scientific exploration and the departure of a new society that opens to development to breathe new life into the human race and find answers to major questions. Considering that Mars has many sites of great scientific value the development includes multiple sites of implantation to explore different landscapes. The Design model of Microcosmes as small colonized bases that can expand as needed, is best suited for the first steps of future development.

Colonization, involving independence, would rely on small communities, scattered around the world, each fulfilling their own needs and generating the resources to survive as a new society. Climate and environmental adaptation is central to the project and the idea of aking advantage of locally available resources. With the notion of independence comes the need for adaptability of architecture in the broad sense of context, which implies that each colony would have its own architectural language with a form that adapts to the morphology of the place.

Finally, to take advantage of local opportunities, the building complex is based on a hybrid development by 3d printing technology of different elements and the addition of resources from the land.

Concretely, it would be conceivable to begin this quest by colonizing the area of Pollinaris Sulci, for its relatively hospitable nature with the geographical and physical conditions of the site in question and the opportunity to launch explorations to neighboring areas. The site in question, close to the geological boundary that expresses the Martian crustal dichotomy, offers great potential for stratigraphy, the search for anterior life and the presence of water in the form of ice. The occupiers would then have a key role in the system, in the sense that they would be responsible for research and development activities. The community would be viable in the sense that it would become autonomous in a long-term perspective and could benefit from constant exchanges with the land.

In short, development in the form of Microcosmes is a feasible answer to the question about humanity's future.



LALANCETTE Olivier, LONDON Sarah, MAHUT Christina, SAINT-AMOUR Laurence


Click on the image below to see the whole poster:

This autonomous and sustainable space structure is equipped with a research center, a residence, a mechanical infrastructure and a self-sustainable greenhouse. It follows a tangent of generation and regeneration through the use of resources on the planet to ensure and facilitate life. For example, waste is recycled to create energy and solar energy is captured using photovoltaic panels.

The various modules of the complex: three glazed domes linked by tunnels and connected to the central trunk by corridors covered with solar panels.
Recalling the shape of the tree, the 50-meter main axis holds the elliptical greenhouse at an optimum angle to optimize light sourcing.

This elevation of nature, through the form and program chosen, aims to put forward what should be the priority of humanity: the environment. Indeed, in an era where the ecological footprint exceeds the available global surface, it is essential not to repeat the same mistakes on a new planet where it will already face issues still ignored to date. It is precisely to answer these potential problems that the development of a research center is essential in relation to an immediate establishment on Mars.

The unknown is sublime, and the research center, as well as the proposed residences, will allow 20 researchers to discover it. It is with a mentality oriented towards sustainable development that they will have an optimistic view of Mars.