Living in Exospace: ISS and Discovery 1

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The concept of exospace, as an alternative liveable structure, is discussed in this article to improve our comprehension of architectural space. Exospace is a man-made space designed for living beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Humankind has developed outerspace technologies to build the International Space Station as a significant experiment in exospace design. The ISS is a new building type for scientific experiments and for testing human existence in outerspace.

    A fictional example of exospace, on the other hand, is Discovery 1 spaceship in Stanley Kubrick’s legendary science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). It is a ship travelling to Jupiter with a crew of five astronauts and HAL9000, the artificial intelligence controlling the ship. I will first discuss the ISS, and the space stations built before, from a spatial point of view. A spatial study of Discovery 1 will follow. Finally, through an understanding of exospace, I will return to architectural space with a critical appraisal. The comparison of architectural space with exospace will add to the discussion of space theories from a technological approach.

    Exospace creates an alternative reality to architectural space. Architects cannot consider exospaces without comparing them with the spaces they design on Earth. The different context of outerspace shows that a work of terrestrial architecture is very much dependent on its context. A building is not an ‘object’ that can be located anywhere; it is designed for its site. Architectural space is a real, material, continuous, static and extroverted habitable space designed for and used in the specific physical context of Earth. The existence of exospace in science opens a new discussion in architectural theory, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-22
    Number of pages12
    JournalThe International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Bibliographical note



    • Exospace
    • International Space Station
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey
    • Architectural space
    • Film space

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Living in Exospace: ISS and Discovery 1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this