As I mentioned in my previous Mars related blog post, it’s likely that the first settlement on the Red Planet will be made of bricks. So what will these early structures look like? Zubrin‘s suggestion that early brick martian buildings inherit flavors of old Roman Architecture really resonated with me… so I thought I’d use that as a basis for building design. It’ll be a while before I come up with the right mix of modernity with the old school ancient imperial arched/pillared look.
I think that a major contrast between actual Roman design and what will be Martian neo-roman architecture is… Romans liked their plans open air. This was a necessity back in the day because there was no air conditioning. On Mars, however, everything, at least at first, needs to be walled off and pressurized.
To the left you see a quick drawing of what might be one of the administrative structures in my city plan. The archways are just really just decorative. If they went all the way into the building, they’d end up having two layers of thick glass, as each of the buildings themselves would be double-walled to help deal with the pressure difference between inside and the outside atmosphere.
As the first permanent structures built on Mars for habitation, these buildings will no doubt be considered hallowed historical monuments in the time the podcast takes place. To that end, I don’t mind the buildings themselves taking on more of an over-the-top feel to them rather than simply the bare essentials that a for real initial settlement on mars might put up.
Most travel between buildings will occur through pressurized tunnels, not through doors in the buildings themselves. Elaborate airlocks would need to be built which safeguards the inside air.
Massive tracts of greenhouses will have to be dedicated to simply producing enough food for the population, however certain goods like wine can be produced for trade back to Earth. These novel, fairly high margin items are necessary because, at least for the first couple of generations, any colony on mars will be very dependent on the mother planet, both practically and culturally.
From this initial colony plan, I think that the building designs will necessarily deviate from the original roman influence into something unique.