Clouds Architecture Office have revealed a new design for a space research lab that floats above a crater in Oita, Japan. The space age has allowed us to leave Earth for the first time to explore other worlds, opening the door to a new era of discovery. In conceptualizing the design for the AVATAR X Lab @ Oita campus, Clouds AO wanted to convey the innovative spirit and energy of the space age.
The project is a partnership between ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA); a part of AVATAR X, a collaborative program for the advancement of space exploration and development. ANA and JAXA are both experts at launching vehicles into the atmosphere, the feeling of suspension or ‘being in the air’ is natural for both entities. The AVATAR X Lab Building is designed as a suspended building floating above a moon-like crater. The multi-story structure floats eighteen meters above the crater bottom, and is accessible by a bridge.
When astronauts board a spacecraft they cross a bridge; when we board a plane we walk across a jet bridge between the terminal and airplane. This is their last contact with familiar ground before taking off for someplace new. The suspended building embodies this crossing of thresholds: after passing over the bridge you are transported to a new place, the AVATAR X Lab Building, where technological innovation will change how we see the world.
The research campus will be located in Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan. The site was chosen due to its resemblance to a lunar landscape. The campus will be used as a test field for a consortium of global tech companies who have signed up to participate in developing Avatar. The campus will consist of several buildings, as well as a moon simulation terrain, which will be used to experiment with tele-operated remote semi-autonomous construction of lunar surface habitats using Avatar robots.
The AVATAR X Lab Building will be situated at the heart of the Oita campus, floating above a crater. The site plan is a radial organization centered around the crater, with other programmatic elements based on five directives necessary for human advancement in space as defined by JAXA, orbiting around them.
The design for the AVATAR X Lab Building is intentionally iconic, conveying the pioneering spirit of flight, by utilizing construction techniques gathered from space architecture and aviation. The AVATAR X Lab Building will be a unique symbol representing the leading edge of technological development.
AVATAR X is part of ANA’s AVATAR Vision a breakthrough endeavor to advance and pioneer real-world Avatar technologies, and JAXA’s new research and development program J-SPARC (JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation). Together with a growing list of public and private partners, AVATAR X hopes to catalyze new space-based businesses that will provide key services and an unprecedented level of access to space.
Location: Oita, Kyushu, Japan
Design Architect: Clouds Architecture Office
Project Team: Masayuki Sono, Ostap Rudakevych, Yuko Sono, Kevin Huang
Structural Design: Jun Sato / University of Tokyo + Jun Sato Structural Engineers Co Ltd
Model Photography: GION
News courtesy of Clouds Architecture Office