The Chandelier of Life -
The first Hotel in Space


Space has been an inspiration for all high cultures; generations have been fantasizing about the ultimate journey: A trip high enough to enable the best view of our home planet and to experience zero gravity. However, since 1961, when Yuri Gagarin became the first person to travel to space, less than a thousand others have had the pleasure to enjoy that excitement.

This is about to change: Whilst the ‘Space Race’ of the Cold War has long cooled down it seems that a new enthusiasm for space has been found. In 2014 alone we have seen successful missions to Mars, a landing on a comet and private companies are on the verge of starting commercial space travel.

NASA and ESA have recently seen their budgets increased whilst individual countries have benefitted from turnover increases in the space industry. In the UK, for example, the annual turnover increased by 7.5%. This trend is set to continue. With the concurrent advances in technology it is reasonable to predict that space tourism will soon see a huge demand. The aim of this proposal is to provide these explorers an exciting accommodation in the first hotel in space.

Space Elevator

So far travel to space has been expensive and dangerous. With the benefit of the discoveries of Carbon Nanotubes (1991) and the Nobel Prize-winning Graphene (2004) it is now feasible to develop a gigantic lift – a so called Space Elevator. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and has fantastic tensile strength and transverse wave speed.

Its principle is very simple: A satellite carries an initial 20 ton cable to space from where it is returned and anchored back into an ocean-going terminal. Climbing robots then set out to strengthen the cable and work as a counterweight at the opposite end. After just over five years the lift’s capacity would be 1100 tons.

‘Whoever puts up the first [space] elevator could eventually own space for the next 100 years.’
Dr. Brad Edwards, High Lift Systems, NASA.

Japan is planning to have its first Space Elevator operational by 2050.

Jet Stream Harvester

Whilst the Space Elevator runs at almost zero energy thanks to the centrifugal force, there is also an opportunity to introduce a high altitude wind farm in order to provide additional energy: A hyperbolic cone placed at a height of 10km has a turbine at its centre that benefits from the Earth’s rotary force and the consistently present, powerful jet streams. The generated energy can then be re-distributed back to Earth and up to the hotel via high power laser beams.

The Pods

It is hoped that the adventure of experiencing space is eventually affordable to the masses. Travelling there should become the ultimate journey; a humbling pilgrimage away from all materialism with the aim to reflect upon our home planet and our role on it. The concept behind the design of the hotel rooms, called the pods, should assist this ‘mental reincarnation’.

Each pod has a central ‘core’ that forms the entry point into the room and also contains all typical functions one can find in a conventional hotel room. An off-set external skin enables views in all directions and underlines the ‘embryotic’ state of the visitor within the zero-gravity environment. A 500nm gold layer provides the necessary protection against the enhanced UV-radiation from the sun and lends the pods a reflective golden finish.

The individual pods are randomly arranged around a central corridor. Their chandelier-like de-positioning emphasizes the three-dimensionality of the vast, open context. The corridor is connected back to a ring shaped structure that contains all front- and back-of-house functions of the hotel. It is here where one can find the ‘Spaced-Out Bar’, ‘Sun Deck Restaurant’, ‘R2-D2 Souvenir Shop’ and ‘Sunset Spa’. There is also a large, adjustable solar farm on the far side of the hotel providing additional energy.

Status: Completed 2015

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