Architecture as the Final Frontier

Spaceport America, designed by Foster and Partners mimics a peeling up of the desert floor. Its site, in southern New Mexico is dry and dusty, perfect for a technological intervention! (said in a Jeremy Clarkson way)

The design, nevertheless boasts of a hugefluid form, with 15m-high ceilings, full height glass and generous views of the beautiful raw surroundings.

Taking off from this spaceport are Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. One won the 10–million USD Ansari XPrize. Two will carry more passengers.

What bugs me is that this building claims to be environmentally friendly, even hoping to get a platinum in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the US Green Building Council. The act of leaving earth and coming back down is anti-environment and yet its building claims to be. Perhaps, for once its okay to let a building be NOT environmentally friendly? Perhaps the design can develop even further? Or maybe it’s naive.

The fact that each of these planes taking off burns gallons of oil each time… And just for a few minutes of weightlessness, its buildings should perhaps speak more of that experience rather than start to talk of the environment and how it’s low in embodied carbon.