SOM to Present Special Commission on Space Architecture at the 23rd International Exhibition of Triennale Milano

Opening on July 15, 2022, the 23rd International Exhibition of Triennale Milano is titled “Unknown Unknowns: An Introduction to Mysteries.” SOM has been invited to contribute one of four special commissions at the center of the triennial show organized by Italy’s most significant cultural institution focused on design.

Curated by astrophysicist Ersilia Vaudo, “Unknown Unknowns” will present works by an international range of artists, researchers, and designers. Looking beyond the known territory of planet Earth, the exhibition will explore themes including the challenges for architecture in light of new prospects, such as how to live in outer space. 

SOM’s commission, titled “Decalogue for Space Architecture,” continues a line of inquiry that the firm has pursued through years of research: How can we design the conditions for humans to thrive in outer space? While previous space habitats have served short-duration missions, relying on supplies brought from Earth, SOM speculates on ten themes that designers must consider when envisioning a permanent and sustainable presence for humanity in space, untethered to our home planet. An immersive audiovisual installation, created in collaboration with Milan-based interdisciplinary design studio Dotdotdot, will present the concepts that should define the next generation of extraterrestrial architecture.

The installation builds on knowledge developed through SOM’s multiyear partnership with the European Space Agency to design the first permanent human settlement on the Moon—a concept that was presented in Venice at Biennale Architettura 2021.