Alternate Realities #3: MARS HOMES

MARS HOMES منازل المريخ

Alternate Realities #3: MARS HOMES

After an overwhelming response to the first & second editions, Charette is thrilled to announce the 3rd edition of ‘Alternate Realities – the world’s most experimental architecture competition! This year’s theme is MARS HOMES.
The entries to the Alternate Realities #3 competition will be reviewed by some of the most influential authorities in architecture and design.

Competition Brief –


This competition exists in an alternate reality.

The year is 2091. You have been called in to design homes for the first human residents on The Red Planet. You are the architect of Mars!

Life on Mars is no longer science fiction but an inevitable reality. Years of indiscriminate exploitation of Earth’s natural resources have pushed climate change to a point where it can no longer be reversed. Moreover, mass extinctions have become common. Therefore, the only way to save the human species is to establish a settlement on Mars. All the space agencies of the world – NASA, ESA, SpaceX, ISRO, etc. – have joined hands to establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars.

However, life on Mars would have its own set of challenges. Its atmosphere is composed primarily of carbon dioxide (about 96%). Ultraviolet and other forms of intense radiation bathe the surface because Mars has a thin atmosphere and no active magnetic field to protect it. Moreover, the temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or as low as about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Mars is only about 0.6 percent of Earth’s.

© SEArch+ | Winner of NASA’s Competition for 3D Printed Habitats on Mars


The Martian Home:

Design a structure to inhabit 4-6 humans on Mars. This shall form the basis of the first human colony on The Red Planet and shall be replicated to form a larger settlement. (You only need to design one house.)

Designers need to think about the long-term mental and physical challenges that come with living on an alien planet. The Martian Home needs to provide a comfortable space to live in while also protecting its inhabitants from the harsh conditions on the planet – radiation, extreme temperatures, atmospheric challenges, etc. You also need to consider how the inhabitants would transition from being indoors to outdoors and vice-versa.


Since the average distance between Earth and Mars is 140 million miles (225 million km), transporting construction materials from the earth will not be practical. The Martian Homes will have to be built from materials available on Mars.

Construction Techniques:

Furthermore, the harsh environment of Mars will render traditional construction techniques useless. Designers will have to come up with new and innovative ways to construct Martian Homes efficiently.

Optional Services:

Life on Mars would also require oxygen generators, food production units, power generation, etc. Additionally, these utility services can be shared by multiple houses through central units. You DO NOT need to design these for this competition. However, you are free to experiment with innovative solutions which can help make each house more self-sufficient.

© Bjarke Ingels Group | Concept for Architecture on Mars


Custom Designed Trophies, Certificates of Achievement, Exclusive Interviews, and Publications to honor the best entries. For more information, visit

Top 3 Winners
10 Honorable Mentions
Top 30 Entries


Furthermore, ‘Alternate Realities #3: MARS HOMES’ is open to all creative people – architects, students, planners, designers, and all problem solvers! Design proposals can be individually or in teams of maximum of 4 participants.

  • Advance Entry: 16 Sep – 15 Oct 2022
  • Early Entry: 16 Oct – 15 Nov 2022
  • Standard Entry: 16 Nov – 15 Dec 2022
  • Last-Min Entry: 16 Dec – 15 Jan 2023
  • Submission Deadline: 31 January 2023
  • Results: March 2023
Finally, more on Archup:

Call for Submissions from the Istanbul Design Biennial: “Designing Resilience”

Health & Environmental Resilience and Livability in Cities (HERL) – The challenge of climate change

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