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Regenerative Space // Design for the Tohoku Spaceport Matthew Boyce Postma

Boyce Postma Design Publishing, 2013 Š Boyce Postma All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from Boyce Postma Design. This book was published using and was printed and bound in the United States of America. Boyce Postma The Design for the Tohoku Spaceport Includes sources cited.

Regenerative Space // Design for the Tohoku Spaceport Matthew Boyce Postma MA Architecture BA Environmental Design

[ University of Oregon, 2013 ] [ University of Colorado, 2008 ]

Professor Hajo Neis University of Oregon Regenerative Design // Redesigning Cities, Towns, Neighborhoods, Streets & Buildings in Response to Catastrophic Disaster Submitted to the University of Oregon Department of Architecture in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of: Master of Architecture

Acknowledgements // Thank you to Hajo Neis for his support of this thesis concept and his guidance throughout the design development. Thanks to Howard Davis for his conversations on Japanese culture and architecture. Thanks to Masami Kobayashi at Meiji University for his expertise on Japanese architecture and urban design. Thanks to Don Stastny for his support and critiques. Thanks to the early minds of space travel: Jules Verne, Konstantin Tsiolkowsky, George Melies, Hermann Oberth, Wernher Von Braun and Gerard K. O’Neill. Richard Branson and Elon Musk for their independent vision of private commercial space travel. Huge appreciation to my colleagues whom were an inspiration for many of the ideas that made it into the final design and presentation. Thanks to Lauren Bruni for her never ending support throughout this investigative process.






Contents // one

1. 2.

Abstract // Introduction //


3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

The Tohoku Spaceport The Martian Impact // Evacuation Trepidation // The International Earth Evacuation Program // 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami // Spaceport Users // Evacuation Community // Space Economy Regeneration // Existing and Future Space Travel Methodologies // Post Earth Occupation //




13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.


Ishinomaki // Site Photos // Design Concepts // Programming // Tsunami Mitigation // Japanese Architectural Influence //


Early Diagrams Urban Redevelopment Strategy Earth and Space Site Development Circulation and Structure Plan Sections Building Model Tectonic Model


Research Sources //

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

one // introduction

“Man will not always stay on earth; the pursuit of light and space will lead him to penetrate the bounds of the atmosphere, timidly at first, but in the end to conquer the whole of solar space.� -Konstantin Tsiolkowsky 1857-1935


Abstract // The final human catastrophic disaster will be the failure of earth’s ability to support life. Due to ill-conceived human industry, natural planetary processes, or extra-planetary intervention, there will come a time when this planet will cease to support life. Ordinarily this would signal the close to millions of years of evolution in a cosmic petri dish. However, for the first time in this solar system, this predictable end does not necessarily mean the conclusion of local life. Humans first ventured into space over fifty years ago, an idea originating in the 19th century by thinkers such as Jules Verne and Konstantin Tsiolkowsky. We have been slow to embrace the world just outside our door, but the time has come to reach out again, further and with more permanence to assure that we won’t be a universal flicker of intelligent life. Should the need arise to evacuate this planet, there must be facilities ready to deploy the future genesis of the human species and other life from this planet. This thesis is a dissection of an architectural design process for a contemporary spaceport and the implications of such a typology on local and global catastrophic disaster.


Introduction // The concept for the Tohoku Spaceport began with the simple idea of taking disaster to its most extreme, and then search for an appropriate architecture. I have always been interested in extremes, often becuase strange and unusual things happen in these non-places. At the assymptotes, the unexpected might happen and the rules of math and science begin to break down into unpredictable patterns. In these extremes, we find possible what was once impossible.

a surprise to me, as I have always had a fascination with the idea of threshold - what it means to cross from one place into another what that boundary looks like, how large it is, and how one interacts with it.

I have often wondered if I would leave the planet earth if given the chance. An opportunity to experience a new place that no other human has previously occupied. It is a tempting offer, but I wonder at the ability of the human body and mind to adapt to a new The extremes are where most of the universe environment. As a species, we are deeply lie. The planet earth is unique in its uncanny connected to the cycle of the sun, the moon, ability to produce a stable environment for the tide, the seasons. Without these familiar long durations - able to produce and maintain daily experiences of phenomenon vastly larger life. Nearly the rest of the universe is at a and more mysterious than ourselves, I fear we temperature near absolute zero or swirling would be lost, perhaps breaking down as we around stars burning at millions of degrees, drift away from that which is most familiar. churning out all wavelengths of radiation, broadcast to infinity. The story of the greatest threshold could be told through a transportation hub, bridging If we are considering extremes in regard the surface of the earth and the near reaches to disaster, the most obvious first move of space. It has no doubt been a dream is to consider the world outside our own. of most humans since the first moment of To limit oneself to the confines of this small consciousness compelled someone to look atmosphere is to limit the imigination of the up to the stars. project all together. A design opportunity like this is deserving of absolute freedom of There were so many aspects to consider in concept, which the confines of the earth often the design of the Tohoku Spaceport, I am hinder. afraid many recieved only a shadows of the attention they deserved. There were hundreds The disaster for consideration is then of of themes that could have easily been applied course, an end to the earth’s ability to support to the general concept, however, only a few life. This proposition is endless in details and were deeply considered. The themes that quandaries that could be designed for, so were always taped to my desk and lived in the the initial research phase was an investigation back of my mind were: into what sorts of programs might support humans in this event over varying timescales. Threshold Could the earth be inhabited in a different Light way? Could the design include underground Duality bunkers of floating cities? Would it be for Evolution habitats on other planets, or space iteself? Could it involve some new technology that will Threshold, as mentioned before, was a forever change the way we interact with the driver in the concept and design phase of planet earth? What of nature and its flora and the project. Not only is the building itself one fauna? So many questions. threshold to space and beyond, but within After considering these questions, and the the spaceport there exist a number of smaller various possible programs that could evolve thresholds, often tieing back to themes from them, it became obvious that I was most associated with the Japanese culture. The interested in the act of leaving. This was not way the building bridges the canal certainly

represents the theme of threshold, while also making obvious reference to the ancient cities of Japan, always centered on a bridge over a river, the center of commerce. The terminal and entrance hall squeeze and expand to always change the occupants relationship to the space, creating thresholds throughout. Light is always important in great design, but in this case, there was a greater pressure to showcase the specific experience of sunlight from the surface of the earth. It occured to me early in the research, that leaving the earth forever would mean never experiencing sunlight like ours again. It is completely unique in the entire Universe due to the specific relationship the earth has to the sun. If the occupants were to be on their way out, never to return, I wanted their dreams and nightmares of sunlight to occur in the spaceport, where their unique experience was raw and pure. Duality is always present in my designs - simply an extension on the theme of extremes. Duality is of course most interesting when presented with juxtposition, whether strong and obvious or subtle and hidden. There was always this tension of how air travelers and space travelers might relate within the building. An early idea was this simple tension between everyday air travelers and the space travelers, that might never return. There is always a bit of suspense that those leaving might be the last. Duality of course also plays well with threshold, but in an attempt to look at duality more deeply, the building never gives the user the sense that they are either on earth or already departed. Evolution was a theme that occured later in the project and did not fully develop. Some sketches reflect evolution in a physical form more clearly, but the final product left something to be desired in spaces of transition. There are elements that do evolve - for example, the massing of the two primary bars of program, or the structure and the way it reaches out towards the spaceplanes. I had a unique opportunity to visit the site, in northeast Japan in December 2012. My experience of the city that was largely destroyed

by the 2010 tsunami was memorable inspiring. Evidence of the destruction was still everywhere. Piles of rubbish heaped 10 meters high. Houses, abandoned, in disarray. I heard stories from locals of the terror of that day, of people drowning and burning at the same time. It was a terrible event never to be forgotten. I spent a day by myself, wondering over the site, watching skeleton crews pick apart the remaining houses. I went in one house far away from the others and long abonded. You could feel the presence of the other houses that once stood next it, across the street. Belongings were still strewn about the place, half buried in mud. It was cold and snowy that morning - there were no living things in the house. On the second floor, the bedrooms were loosely filled with tipped furniture. There was a beauitiful view towards the ocean. I met some fishermen on my way out of town. They invited me in for some instant coffee and a cracker. Very generous men, repairing fishing nets in a long white tent. In rough hand gestures we were able to communicate only a few details of the event. They had been out at sea off the coast of Alaska when it happened. When they returned home, they were lucky to find their familes still alive and well. One of them had lost their home. The resilient spirit of the Japanese people was nearly visible as an aura around these old fishermen. I knew then that this was a perfect place to imagine a building meant to be used at the end of the world. Even in the face of terrible tragedy, these people were uniquely aware of their surroundings, kind, and humble. When the rest of the world dispairs and spins into chaos, Ishinomaki would quietly prepare for the inevitable with dignity and peace.

two // concept


Tohoku Spaceport //

The spaceport is a gateway for commercial air and space travelers, and interstellar evacuees. As one approaches the Tohoku Spaceport, it is immediately clear that one has crossed a threshold to the space beyond our atmosphere. The architecture serves as an extension to our non-earth infrastructure and should give such an impression. The interior structures and spaces are light and ephemeral, but also secure and protecting. The experience of travel will return to its previous glory as an experience of luxury, and excitement. There is an influence from Middle Eastern airports that tend to focus on the event of meeting, education, business and the sharing of ideas, while playing down the western shopping mall. There is also a heavy architectural influence from the local Japanese architecture with a unique approach to creating spaces through solids, voids, walls, courts and the ground plane. The design is internationally accessible, but inspired by traditional and contemporary Japanese design. As this facility will serve both air and spacecraft, much is programmatically borrowed from contemporary airport design. The facility services smaller aircraft and horizontal take-off spacecraft. There are ten gates and earmarked space for another ten to be built as services expand. Ticketing and baggage will be managed by spaceport staff, relieving the clutter of travel company branding and allowing customer service to be standard regardless of carrier or ticket class. The baggage and ticketing system is highly automated, allowing for the fastest de/boarding times and ease of travel. Air and space travelers are mixed as often as possible to allow universal access to the thrill of space travel. The architectural form is highly suggestive of its interior programming, while reacting to the local conditions with very specific design guidelines in response to tsunami conditions. There is the potential to act as both an evacuation point for a global disaster as well as for future tsunamis.

C/2013 A-1


The Martian Impact // In 2014, comet 2013 A1 will slam into the planet Mars at 120,000 mph. Currently projected to be 1.5 miles across, the impact will be catastrophic. Though current projections put the likelihood of this event at one in twothousand, as the event draws nearer, scientists confirm the unlikely. With impact, a new crater hundreds of kilometers across will be formed. Debris will cloud out solar radiation from reaching equipment on the surface, causing total radio silence from all but the nuclear powered Curiosity Explorer if it is not destroyed from the years of windstorms to follow. This event causes great trepidation on earth as we suddenly awaken to the extreme fragility of life. Ill-conceived Human Industry, Natural Planetary Processes, and War are also cited as causes for increased market turmoil, finally prompting a resolution by the UN for a back-up plan in the event of the need to escape our home, the planet earth.


Evacuation Trepidation // Ill-conceived human industry disasters scenarios are caused by human activity. Examples include climate change caused by greenhouse gas and severe pollution. Natural planetary processes are not influenced by human activity and describe common traits of all earthlike planets including massive volcanic activity or a naturally occurring bacterial evolution creating an imbalance in our atmosphere. Extra-planetary interventions are catastrophic disasters with a direct cause outside of our local earth/moon system. A collision with an asteroid or an unusually intense solar flare capable of causing a global technological meltdown are examples of extra-planetary disasters. In addition to the catastrophic disasters caused by ill-conceived human industry, there are also non-catastrophic events that could significantly reduced quality of life resulting in at least partial evacuation. Two of these scenarios include overpopulation and a severe depletion of easily extracted raw materials on earth, the former of which is a symptom of the later.

At the earth’s current population growth rate, seven billion people will live on earth before 2015. It is unlikely that our current population increase will continue at this rate, though even the best projections of the earths carrying capacity vary by 1000%. Of the studies conducted in the last fifty years, two-thirds of the projected carrying capacity maximums averaged near ten billion people. The most important factor in nearly every estimate is our ability to produce food. Technological advancements tend to distort these predictions in unpredictable ways. Even with increased utilization efficiency of raw materials, there will be a tipping point when it becomes more economically and environmentally viable to mine resources on other planets, moons or asteroids. Under the worst case scenario, droughts of specific raw materials or energies will force us to look beyond the surface of our planet, causing many to suffer from hunger and malnutrition as advanced extra-earth mining industries struggle to close the gap of supply and demand.

Bikini Atol Nuclear Testing Ground. 07/25/46 Cyanobacteria. The first type of bacteria to produce oxygen, these microscopic life forms forever altered the surface of the earth. Other bacteria have similarly caused massive extinctions. Scene from the film Melancholia by Lars Von Treir. This metal wire allows the user to determine whether the planet Melancholia is on a collision course with Earth.

Alcantara Launch Center Maranh達o, Brazil

Guinea Space Center French Guinea

Kennedy Space Center Florida, United States

Spaceport America

New Mexico, United States

EU Spaceport

Majorca Island, Spain

Tohoku Spaceport

Ishinomaki, Japan

Baiknor Cosmodrome


UAE Space Center

Zhungguo Space Center

Jiuquan, China

Ras Al Khaimah, United Ara Emirates

Broglio Space Center Coast of Kenya

Satish Dhawan Center

Sriharikota, India

AU Space Center

Queensland, Australia


The International Earth Evacuation Program // Conceived at the UN Security Council in 2015, a framework and funding scheme was developed to provide the world with ten evacuation spaceports to be used in the event of a global life ending disaster. Unprecedented cooperation allowed for the sharing of known space technologies to create a standard spacecraft design capable of transporting up to twenty passengers to multiple space stations. Small outposts will also soon be located on the moon and mars. Each spaceport maintains twenty-five spacecraft and is capable of docking with all space stations. In the event of immediate evacuation, spacecraft will launch successively from each of the spaceports, entering into an orbit near the local space station. Then, in succession, each will dock, unload its passengers, and return to a grouped orbit for storage. From here, the human species will spread to other planets and moons in the solar system, beginning human dominion of local space and the end of earth as our primary home.


2011 Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami // “Building should always be on those parts of the land which are in the worst conditions.” Christopher Alexander On March 11th, 2011 a rupture occurred between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates off the coast of Japan. The force of the rupture caused a 9.0 undersea mega thrust earthquake, approximately 70 km (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku, nearly five miles underwater. The effects of the earthquake were felt across the island nation of Japan and lasted over five minutes. Due to strict building codes in anticipation of such an event, little damage and almost no loss of life was recorded from the earthquake.

In addition, several coastal nuclear reactors suffered damage ranging from temporary shutdown to explosive meltdown. A fifty mile radius quarantine still exists around the Fukushima reactor, which sustained nuclear meltdowns exists in three out of four reactors and two hydrogen build-up explosions occurred. Traces of nuclear isotopes have been found in the nearby water supply and fallout has been recorded in non-harmful levels across the world. Experts have concluded the Fukushima reactor disaster to be second in destruction only to Chernobyl.

However, roughly thirty minutes after the earthquake stopped, the first reports of a tsunami began to appear from the Sendai airport. Within the hour reports of tsunami waves as high as ten meters were recorded. Researchers later found that in unique geographical locations, the water level reached nearly 38 meters (124 ft) though the average was between 5 and 15 meters. The death toll and infrastructure damage was catastrophic across the entire northeast coast of Japan. Current missing and dead counts approach 18,500 with another 6,000 injured. Nearly a million buildings were damaged or destroyed. Damage to transportation infrastructure created rescue barriers that caused the death of many that survived the initial disaster. Damage has been estimated at over $250 billion. The net impact of the disaster on the global GDP was estimated at -.5%, with half of that directly in Japan.

North of Sendai, in the city of Ishinomaki, the tsunami killed no less than 6,000 inhabitants, most of whom lived in the lower part of the town, nearest to the coast. Nearly 30,000 of the original 160,000 residents of the city lost their homes, accounting for more than 20% of the town’s population. The damaged area is near 15 square miles, with water reaching up to 30 feet high in some areas and up to 3 miles inland along the Kitakami-Gawa (river). The short term damage was horrific, and the city is still managing the overwhelming volume of debris created in the swirling aftermath. Those with little or nothing left have migrated away from the city, selling or abandoning what little remained. Businesses and local industries were destroyed, causing the struggling Japanese economy to increasingly suffer. An explosive new industry is necessary keep the town alive.

Left: Yellow line shows water level. Red squares show fires. Top: Impact of tsunami across the Pacific Ocean.

Top: Water levels in Ishinomaki. Below: Neighborhood just south of downtown. Right Inside: Damage to the third story of house. Right Top: Ishinomaki Bay May, 2001 Right Middle: Ishinomaki Bay March, 2011 Right Bottom: Ishinomaki Bay. Note the shored tanker.

Visitors // It used to be that airports were visited as often by onlookers as travelers, for lunch and to take in the view. There was an excitement to the new era of travel that a spaceport can revive.

Air Arrivals and Departures // Most of the traffic moving through the spaceport will be air traffic bringing people from Tokyo for business, pleasure or end of the world space transportation.

Space Tourist // When the spacecraft is not in end of the world mode, it will be used primarily for the purpose of spcae tourism.

Space Business Traveler // As space business increases, tourism will be matched by business travelers, heading to the newly developed space stations and martian colony.

End of the World Traveler // The end of the world traveler would arrive by train from the colony in Tokyo. From here, changing and any last personal moments on earth take place.


Spaceport Users A variety of users inform the design of the spaceport. The most common will be a mix of visitors and air travelrs. Visitors will be coming from Ishinomaki or as far away as souther Japan on the Shinkansen line. They will want to experience space travel as closely as possible without actually flying. Air travelers will be passing through the spaceport to spaceflights or to the city of Ishinomaki itself. With the new spaceport as a catalyst for future space industries, the spaceport will see increased traffic of researchers, business travelers and evacuee trainees. Space tourists will be the first people to use the facility for space travel as it is currently the only viable space industry that directly invovles the public. Ticket prices are currently very high, but with time, they will fall. New varients of the common spaceplane designs will further drive down prices to open the market to middle economic class adventurers. Space business travelers will begin to appear with the introduction of new space stations and bases on Mars and the Moon. The End of the World Traveler will come and go at the facility for regular training. A training facility in Ishinomaki will serve some of the trainings, though most will be in Tokyo, where the evacuation community resides.


Evacuation Community // An rolling evacuation community of 500 will support train regularly at the Tohoku Spaceport. The community intended for evacuation will live in Tokyo, though there will be extended training stays in Ishinomaki. They will be ordinary citizens from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicity, and cultures. In order to create a true representation of the human race on another world in the event of global disaster, the population must be highly diversified.

architecture of the earth and post-earth communities. It is unrealistic to think that all or even most humans will leave this planet in an evacuation scenario within the next 100 years. Given the increasing gap between those with the most and those with the least, even in a more equitable world, it is unlikely that even a small percentage would have the means to leave this planet, even if the cost drastically shrinks. There are a multitude of other human factors that similarly contribute to this idea of a small In the wake of the tsunami, young people selection of post-earth humans including deserted the affected areas. Many of the desire to leave, physical proximity to these cities, already suffering from an evacuation points, age, discrimination, or aging population are now finding their post-earth quality of life. This evacuation communities even older. Some of the point is intended only for the community affected population have been traveling, in direct proximity to the spaceport – a working for redevelopment groups and will local community specifically meant for be out of work when the government money evacuation. runs dry. With the limited introduction of an immigrant population and an influx The evacuation group consists of fiveof refugees from many affected areas, hundred, with fifty people rolling into and Ishinomaki will be envisioned as a new out of the total each year. This gives each international Japanese city. potential evacuee a participation time of ten years. Candidates will be restricted Though the evacuation and support to begin only between the ages of thirty community is intended to be highly and forty, and should include a high level diversified, the people of Japan will remain of diversity. the primary ethnic group, and their choice of culture is not an accident. They are a A final aspect to consider when planning people more accustomed to evacuation the development of this community is and disaster than most. Their geographical that for the 500 people departing from location is a hotbed of seismic activity, this spaceport, the community on earth creating an ancient culture of disaster is intended to be left behind. There is preparedness. They are also a culture of a temporariness to it that should be limited means as an island nation requiring considered when developing the new the importation of large quantities of raw parts of the town and its architecture. material. The people of Japan tend to be The suggestion here is not necessarily to far more efficient, careful and respectful create temporary housing structures for of their environments than their North those in the rolling evacuation group, but American counterparts. In a way, the to create spaces that reflect the transient community will already have a sense of nature of the residents. They should be self-sufficiency necessary to survive in a compact, simple and adjustable. Aspects post-earth scenario. of the living and working quarters would ideally have similar features to those found The scale of the evacuation determines on space stations, creating a familiarity many factors in the urban design and with future habitats.

Asteroid Collection

Asteroid Mining

Habitation Research

Space Tourism

Travel Simulation

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Space Economy Regeneration The economy of Japan and was in decline before the tsunami of 2011. Ishinomaki’s economy was largely based on fishing and small agricultural lots. Similar Japanese economy, the local economy was based at least 60% on the internal sales of goods and services. When the tsunami struck, those that lost everything could no longer contribute to this local economy, and the weakness spread. In order to jump start the economy, redevelop damaged land, and create gravitational pull towards increased density, a new economy must be injected into the area.

creating a diverse exportable economy. Rocket, plane, habitat, and mission design and manufacturing will take place in and around Ishinomaki, providing jobs and a source of revenue for the city to rebuild.

The spaceport will be the primary architectural component to the new development. Other development will include rocket launching areas to the west near Mt. Otakamori and research facilities and offices to the east near Watanoha. There will be redevelopment of residential, commercial and retail spaces as well, as the city develops. Currently the biggest The space industry has been dominated players in the booming private space by governments since the first V-2 rocket industry are scattered across the world was developed by Werner Van Braune – with manufacturing plants located in the 1940’s for the Nazi party. Since great distances from launching areas. then, we have seen satellites, orbiting I propose consolidating many of these humans, men sent to the moon, ten programs and industries into one place space stations, and the development of with R&D, development, manufacturing private commercial space travel. It is this and launching all within the city. last development that will change space travel more than any other single evolution Schools will develop in the area to support of our relationship to space. With dozens the technical nature of the industry; of companies now competing for grants, however it should not be assumed that contest prizes, government dollars, and even the majority of the citizens will be private investor’s attention, the real space directly employed by the industry. It seems age is just beginning. reasonable to assume that the scale of the space economy will support the city at Ishinomaki will not only host one of the levels up to 500,000 and beyond. The city international spaceports, it will be home to is currently at a relatively low density, and a newly developed space industry capable could benefit from growing up onto higher of bringing density back to the city and land, above known tsunami paths.

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Existing and Future Space Travel Methodologies // Human space travel began in 1961 when Russian, Yuri Gagarin launched from the Baiknor Cosmodrome. A year later, American John Glenn made the first orbit, and the space race leading men to the moon began. This series of events was developed on the expert engineering and wild imaginations of people before these astronauts including Isaac Newton, Jules Verne, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, George Melies, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, Werner Van Braun, Sergei Korolev and many others. The first concept drawings for any sort of machine to take us into space were created by the reclusive Russian, Tsolkovsky, who sketched out what he called a reaction machine. Previous ideas posited by Verne and Melies involved large cannons or slinging devices. Tsolkovsky was the first to envision the rocket, a concept that has changed little in principle in over 150 years.

The US space program would go on to put men on the moon, and after some years of unmanned missions, return with the first reusable rocket, the US Space Shuttle program. Space stations began occupation in the early 1970’s. The current international space station has been in orbit almost twelve years and continues to serve as one of two human environments outside of the planet earth. The last ten years though have seen a dramatic shift in space travel develoment with increased interest in private space development. There are currently a host private companies developing rockets and space planes, as well as orbiting accomodations.

Space faring vehicles from companies such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Reaction Engines Limited are already in the testing phase, and have put men in suborbital flight. The primary purpose From here it would take the work of Melies for this development is currently space to give the world the vision, Goddard to tourism, though as we inevitably spread actually build and fire the first rocket, Oberth out to the moon, mars, asteroids and to convince the scientific community that it increasingly large spacestations, the was possible and Van Braun and Korolev market for space travel will begin to to bring men into the space age. change from pleasure to business.

Left: SpaceX Dragon Rocket. This was the first private rocket to carry supplies to the International Space Station. Top: Virgin Galactic’s Spaceshiptwo



Middle: SpaceX and Stratolaunch partnership. Middle: Elon Musk standing next to a SpaceX rocket. Bottom: The Skylon by Reaction Engines Limited

Proposed design for a spaceport by Gerard K. Oneill. The cylinders spin roughly two revolutions per minute creating artificial gravity. The long ‘blade’ like apparatus coming from the far end of the cylinder are mirrors used to control the temperature and lighting of the interior environment, mimicking the movements of the sun. Farm modules are located in the ring of much smaller cylinders rotating on the opposite side of the mirrors origin.

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Post-Earth Occupation // The final question my thesis raises is regarding the post-earth colony. Originally I had intended the earth community to bear some resemblance to the future post-earth evacuation community – which is to say: alone. However I have concluded that in order to create the best evacuation community possible, the evacuees must have an existing connection to the people they are leaving behind. This community cannot be quarantined off in a desert waiting for the day they may have to jettison. They must be part of the human community in order to best represent it in a future post-earth society. They must work and live among people that will not evacuate, perhaps in order to fully understand the weight of their responsibility.

There is highly research literature suggesting what these space stations of the future might look like. O’Neill and others suggested a cylindrical craft that rotates between 1 and 3 times per minute creating a centrifugal force capable of replicating gravity. These crafts would be immense: several kilometers long and wide and hold many thousands of people.

Some of the advantages to this living situation are a more accessible solar energy source, a 24 hour light source to grow foods, a controlled environment that would eliminate the threat of natural disasters, ease of obtaining raw materials from local asteroids or moons, and relatively low cost of transporting raw materials. Nearly all features of the earth could be mimicked in such an environment, and the structure is Early concepts for the location of these possible with current technology. post-earth colonies changed away from the Moon and Mars, even though they share some resemblance to the earth. Texts by Gerard K. O’Neill of Princeton and NASA, make an excellent case for permanent space station occupation. Unless a colony is planned for another planet without aspirations of leaving, it is hard to argue for a permanent colony on a planet or moon with no atmosphere. Neither Mars nor the Moon offer much protection from threats experienced in space. Imagine the entirety of space is a two dimensional plane. Our habitats on planets are like deep holes in this plane, which require incredible amounts of energy to escape from. O’Neill argued that it would be highly advantageous to remain in space permanently, returning to planets, moons or asteroids only for the collection of raw materials for future building.

three // parameters

Launch Direction Rockets are more effective near the equator because they can take advantage of the higher velocity of the surface of the earth. Launches from the Tohoku Spaceport will aim south and east to take advantage of this velocity.

Tohoku launch location

faster near equator

slower near pole

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Ishinomaki Geographically, politically, climatically, and economically, Ishinomaki is an excellent city for a spaceport. The ideal launch site will be west of a large body of water and relatively near the equator. Rockets and space planes should be launched east over water in the event of a necessary mission abort, and to allow for ease of collection of blunt-bottomed spacecraft post re-entry. Proximity to the equator is ideal in order to maximize the effect of the earth’s rotation on the speed of spacecraft egress and depletion of fuel. The closer to the equator a ship is, the faster land and atmosphere spin relative to the spacecraft. The faster the spacecraft is moving relative to the earth, the less fuel it requires to exit the atmosphere.

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Site Photos

Opposite Top: Towards the peninsula, crossing the newly replaced bridge. Opposite Bottom: Down the canal with the site on the left. The fences are hiding debris. Left: Looking east over what was previously a dense neighborhood. Little remains. Below: A house left in a newly submerged area of the peninsula. A tanker crashed less than 10 meters from the house to the right. Below: Looking east towards the site with the canal on the right, a small ditch in the middle and the debris pile on the left. Photos taken at the site 12/12.

Tsunami MItigating Design // The shape of the building should deflect rising waters in the event of a future Tsunami. Habitible spaces are elevated above the ground to avoid damage.

Land & SPACE // The landside of the spaceport feels grounded and part of the earth. The spaceside gives a sense of elevation and loftiness.

Distant Icon // The spaceport should be visible from a distance as an icon and a beacon.

Integrated Natural Spaces // As the experience of the spaceport might be the last on earth for some, natural areas are heavily integrated.

Light Thresholds // Slits in the ceiling are incorporated often to allow light to filter down in a way that creates a series of thresholds.

[ 15 ]

Design Concepts The Tohoku Spaceport is based on several specific design concepts that shape the programmatic divisions, massing and site alignment. In general, the building should be located in such a way as to avoid future damage from Tsunamis. The spaceport typology is well suited to this hazerdous stretch of land because it is dangerous to build in high density in such a volitle area. The relationship between the traditional air and landsides of the airport are dramatized in the play between land and space sides of the spaceport. The path to the terminal hall elevates travelers while simultaneously pulling the ground up around them. The integration of natural spaces is an unusual move for large transportation infrustructure, however, because it is possible that at some point the travelers circulating the spaceport will be the last on earth, it is imperative that the final moments have some natural experience. Reaching in experience from the entrance, all the way out to the tarmac, trees and grasses will be part of trhe departure. Light thresholds are integrated into the ceiling through the buidling. These thresholds create a series of moments that a passenger may travel through for an experience of our suns light hitting this planet, a unique phenomenon.

[ 16]

Programming Like most contemporary airports, the Tohoku spaceport has a landside, an intermediate transition space and a secured spaceside. In diagram, the circulation between the programmed spaces are generally orgazined into a closed loop with departures going in, and arrivals coming out. The ticketing space is primarily intended for customer service, as very little ticketing will be done in person in the future. Security has been given a much smaller space due to advanced biometric screening of the near future. Some of the smaller programmed spaces such as food and restrooms are scattered throughout, but are intended to be grouped and tucked away, to allow the larger spaces to dominate the experience. Back of the house programs like administration and some immigration offices are completely obscured to the traveler.

AVOIDING - Effective mitigation by raising buildings in vulnerable areas above the water mark.

SLOWING - Both natural and man-made rigid structures can act to slow the speed of the wave.

STEERING - Guide the force of the wave from people and vulnerable areas towards low impact areas.

BLOCKING - Hardened structures such as walls, compacted terraces and berms, parking structures, or site specific occupied buildings can block some of the force of the oncoming wave.

[ 17]

Tsunami Mitigation The area affected by the tsunami has been and continues to be highly damaged and polluted. Vast areas are still cluttered with debris, a natural landscape turned alien and bare. From all vantages are large collection piles of waste, struggling to bring order to the entropy. One might argue that we should never build in some of these places again, and in some instances, this is an educated suggestion. However, because these areas are damaged, they should be restored, and economically, this will largely mean private redevelopment. Future tsunami mitigation strategies should be implemented from the Japanese federal government, including strategies such as building back wetlands, backfilling a series of hills, creating parks and a series of forests. The purpose of many of these tactics is to create diversion routes for the water, push occupied land up, create mostly permeable surfaces, push buildings up off the ground, and slow incoming water down with vegetation and trees. The secondary tsunami mitigation strategy is effective evacuation routes and a functioning warning system. In some areas of Ishinomaki, the evacuation areas were not high enough, or proved to be unsafe as gasoline fires spread across debris. The redeveloped urban plan must take into account effective evacuation areas. The Japanese warning system has been highly successful given the current knowledge of the relationship between earthquakes and tsunamis. Though many evacuees knew of the dangers of a potential tsunami after the earthquake, there was no warning as to the severity of the tsunami, and this took many locals by surprise.

[ 18 ]

Japanese Architectural Influence Though the spaceport should be international architecture, the Japanese method of building is certainly considered. The treatment of solid and void, area and line, walls and courts, should be recognizable as influenced by Japanese architecture and urban design. The Japanese city is remarkably different than the Western city in terms of organization and density distribution. In a Western city, it is common to find one primary center, with perhaps a few subservient secondary centers. In the Japanese city, no such hierarchy exists, with each node of density acting effectively as its own center of equal weight to all others. Below the city scale, Japanese city codes do not prevent great varieties of height in proximity, so it is not uncommon to see the two to three story primary urban fabric punctured by a few or single very large building(s), many times the height of the average. The center of the population nodes in Western cities are typically formed into a rectilinear shape by neighboring architecture. The Japanese node is not traditionally created in such a way, but rather around the meeting of water and commercial traffic where available. This is an obvious urban morphology developed from a topography dominated by paths of water and a heavy urban focus on trade. Japanese streets have become increasingly rectilinear, however the method of place identification is still heavily based on the area, as opposed to the line. This idea is often expressed in an extrapolation of the tatami mat and its proportions on a variety of scales.

Left: Diagram of dwelling organization. The top diagram is a western style dwelling with four walls directly on the ground. The bottom diagram shows the Japanese style dwelling, composed of four posts, a raised floor, thin partitiions and a floating roof. Right: Tatami configurations. The designs are always intended to spiral around to a center point, never creating strong axis. Photos By: Boyce Postma

four // design

[ 19 ]

Early Diagrams Early diagrams started with ideas of incorporating natural elements, creating a series of light boxes and bridging the river in a meaningful way. The original light box idea was intended to to showcase the evacuation spaceplanes. The structures would be enourmous to accomodate the wingspan of planes that would carry up to twenty within the rocket. After some struggle with this idea, the spaceplane storage was abandoned to bring greater focus to the public spaces of the spaceport itself. Bridging the river and incorporating natural elements stayed with the project. The original watercolor on the bottom left only shows a basic relationship between the land, the water, the basic building form and the people, and yet after so many design iterations, the finished design has a remarkable resemblance.

Water level reached during the 2010 tsunami Future land development that will need to be integrated into future tsunami mitigation scheme. Primary circulation with evacuation routes.

Higher elevation evacuation point.

[ 20 ]

Urban Redevelopment Strategy // The urban redevelopment plan will loosely cover twelve square miles, with specific higher detailed development in three locations. Those locations include the Mt. Otakamori Peninsula, the previous neighborhood just north of Ishinomaki Bay, and the area directly west of Ishinomaki Bay including the previous neighborhoods of Shumodai, Kamidai, Doteshitaminami, Michistiaminami and Minamihama. The Mt Otakamori area was wiped almost completely clean by the tsunami and is no longer suitable for growing food as it once was. I believe this location would be well suited for vertical launch vehicles. The area is surrounded by low hills which could provide a sound barrier for the nearby city. This program is well suited to an area prone to tsunami devastation because it will be sparsely populated and typically house very little equipment. Given the proximity of hills in the area, much of the valuable technology could be located out of reach of most future natural disaster scenarios. The area to the north of Ishinomaki bay was previously a vast medium density residential neighborhood, now in the process cleansing. It is bordered on the east by the most dense part of the city, the downtown central district. This area will serve as the primary urban connection between the existing downtown and the future space industry facilities. Some residential development should take place here, but the low elevation of the land will largely limit development to raising occupied spaces above potential water level lines. Large areas in this neighborhood will also be dedicated to water level mitigation and barriers to slow incoming and receding water.

The final location in the urban plan is the area just west of Ishinomaki Bay. This area is separated from the mainland by a canal and river, connecting to Ishinomaki Bay. It is reached by Highway 251 and 247 across the Michishita Bridge, destroyed in the tsunami and recently rebuilt. The area was previously a dense neighborhood, baseball field and park. Every building is currently being torn down, the baseball field is now a pile of debris 8-10 meters high. The redevelopment of this area will be shaped by its proximity to the runway, which will jut out nearly a mile into the water, acting simultaneously as a method of slowing the waters of a future tsunami. Much of the area is severely polluted and badly littered. A sea wall will be developed around the perimeter, though design considerations should allow for views over this wall wherever possible. This area will house the evacuee community.

[ 21]

Earth and Space The spaceport is broken into a land and space side connected by a threshold that crosses the river. The spaceport is generally in alignment with the runways, which run about thirty degrees off the equatoral line. The early concept model also calls out the relationship and importance of the restored wetland. After the final houses on the site are demolished, the previously existing wetland will be able to retake much of the land around the spaceport. The building will almost sink into it except for the space terminal, which should rise out of it to meet the stars.

Landside Hall

The main building travelers arrive at. The bar elevates all passengers thirty feet to keep passengers safe from tsunamis, while simultaneously embedding them in the earth for the last time.


The spaceport is located over the existing irrigation canal primarily for security reasons. There is also a historical nod to the importance of rivers in early Japanese settlements as a hub of commerce.


The connecting point between the land and space sides of the spaceport crosses at the canal, which also acts as a physical barrier. This security area has restricted one way access.

Spaceside Terminal

The terminal bar is located across the canal and connects directly with the tarmac, spaceplanes and airplanes.


Runway alignment largely determines the site constraints. The runway must generally direct traffic south and east to take advantage of the rotation of earth on take-off

Opposite Below: The terminal vertical circulation area. To the far right, space travlers move to the top floor to get a view of the ocean and the spaceplanes, after which they take elevators down to the tarmac. The middle stair takes air passengers to the air departure waiting area. The stairs on the far left bring arriving passengers to the security floor. The single elevator in the middle carries passengers to all levels. Opposite Top: The meditation space is located above the terminal transition area. Circulation winds from the floor below up to the roof, where there is a small japanese garden and a space to observe the sun from earth. Below: This view shows the experience of the main entrance hall after entering from the view platform. Out the window to right right, behind the service counters is an outdoor seating area, the canal, and then the tarmac.

[ 22 ]

Site Development //

Access // The site is most commonly accessed through the shinkansen line that runs below the spaceport. Other methods include vehicular, water and pedestrian.

Water // The site is nearly surrounded by water, contributing to its future status as a natural wetland. This will aid in the slowing of tsunami waters in the future.

Runways // The runways are nearly 2 miles long and largely dictated the location of the site. They have to be orineted to the south and east for launching patterns, which requires that they jut out into the sea, creating a wavebreak.

Buildings // The site is dominated by the spaceport itself, but other buildings include a communications tower, storage hangers and a fueling station.

A view back from the terminal towards the security gates. The view platform and hall can be seen through the windows across the canal.

[ 23]

Circulation and Structure The structural elements of the terminal building are hung from two concrete pillars that run the length of the space. Light penetrates these structures, as the ceiling and roof are hung between. The structure reaches up towards the sky, but simultaneously shrinks with each succession from the beginning to the end of the terminal. This at first restricts the occupants view, but then slowly reveals the further down the platform you travel. It also acts a a sunshade for most southern exposure.

The circulation paths differ for each type of traveler. Those visitng the spaceport will only travel to the end of the hall, and perhaps visit the restaurant. Those traveling to space can move through up the ramped area to and experience the fulll views of earth before leaving, or skip up the entrance elevators and right through security. Air travelers follow a similar path as space travelers, but stay a half level below, and have their view directed to earth, as opposed to the space travelers, who view out to the ocean, a nod to a previously unknown place.

Space Waiting

Space travelers wait here until ready to depart. Then they take elevators to the departures level.

Air Waiting

The waiting area for air travelers is below the space travlers side, and looks over the city of Ishinomaki.

Air Arrival and Departure Space Arrival and Departure

All space travelers will arrive and depart on this level after waiting on the level above.

All air travelers will arrive and depart on this level after waiting on the level above.

[ 24]


Ramp to mediation space Stairs to shinkansen Retail


Restrooms Customer Service Counter

View Platform

Vehicle Arrivals


Security Canal

Space Vertical Circulation

Baggage Pickup

Elevators to Space Tarmac

Air Waiting Area

[ 25]


Hall Section // Meditation space on top left, offices below that, and security to the right. Stairs lead to the shinkansen high speed rail.

Terminal Section // Shows the relationship between air and space arrival and departure floors.

Terminal Section // From the right is the entrance, meditation space and security. Across the river to the left, the circulation splits into multiple levels for air and space arrivals and departures.

[ 26 ]

Building Model


Tectonic Model

five // sources


Research Sources // Airports


Edwards, Brian. The Modern Terminal: New Approaches to Airport Architecture. London: E. & F.N. Spon, 1998. Print. A comprehensive guide to the planning and design of airport terminals and their facilities. This book covers all types of airport terminals found around the world and highlights the environmental and technical issues that the design teams have to address. Contemporary examples are critically reviewed through a series of case studies. Relevant precedents include Stansted Airport, UK, Stuttgart Airport, Germany, and Cologn/Bonn Airport, Germany.


Edwards, Brian, and Brian Edwards. The Modern Airport Terminal: New Approaches to Airport Architecture. 2nd Edition London: Spon Press, 2005. Print. This comprehensive guide to the planning and design of airport terminals and their facilities covers all types of airport terminal found around the world and highlights the environmental and technical issues that the designer has to address. Contemporary examples are critically reviewed through a series of case studies. This new edition covers the most recent examples of high quality, technically advanced designs from the Far East,Europe and North America.


Blankenship, Edward G. The Airport: Architecture-Urban Integration-Ecological Problems. New York: Praeger, 1974. Print. Though slightly outdated, many of the simple principles of airport design are included in this text. It features countless graphs and tables of specifications on organizing program. There are also a large number of case studies showing a variety of organizational methods.


Schultz, Anne-Catrin, and Timothy Hursley. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, International Terminal, San Francisco International Airport. Fellbach: Edition Axel Menges, 2008. Print. The new building of San Francisco International Airport offers a recognizable image to arriving and leaving passengers. It is organized over five levels, making it America’s first mid-rise terminal. According to Craig Hartman, design architect with SOM, the terminal is founded upon the qualities of light and lightness. The building’s position above several lanes of traffic required a 380-foot long span between the central columns - essentially the building is a bridge. This book is an excellent example of how to build a space entirely about clarifying circulation.


Düttmann, Martina, and Christian Richters. Brunnert Und Partner: Flughafen Leipzig/halle. Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges, 2004. Print. An excellent case study on the Leipzig/Halle Airport. The airport redesign is the result of Brunnert and Partners design, which broke established competition rules. The primary component of the design that makes this project unique is the bridge across several lanes of traffic and connects two sides of the airport.


Blow, Christopher J. Airport Terminals. Oxford: Butterworth Architecture, 1991. Print. Airport passenger terminals have developed to be a major new public building-type representing transportation in the late twentieth century. The functional planning of facilities for aircraft and people, and the architectural forms to accommodate them, are of great interest to designers and the myriad of people who work in an visit airports. The book is a discourse rather than a design guide. It is written for an international readership and illustrated from the author’s experience.


Binney, Marcus. Airport Builders. Chichester, West Sussex: Academy Editions, 1999. Print. The airport terminals of the 1990s are engineering wonders, filled with natural light from above and with glass walls providing panoramic views. Their majestic internal spaces are worthy successors to the great train sheds of the nineteenth-century railway stations. Engineering and architecture play an equal role in creating vast, soaring internal spaces, exemplified by the new island airport at Kansai, Chek Lap Kok, and Seoul Inchon. Many buildings consciously seek to suggest metaphors for flight with soaring roofs and steelwork suggestive of fuselages or even the struts of early biplanes. While some terminals carry forward the twentieth-century tradition of a universal international modern style, others seek to give architecture a sense of place.


Pearman, Hugh. Airports: A Century of Architecture. New York: H.N. Abrams, 2004. Print. The airport terminal, the most important building type in the world of transportation, is also the site of the most ambitious and innovative achievements in 20th-century architecture. From the timber runway used during the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight to modern glass-and-steel structures, from military buildings housing fighter planes to public spaces for both travel and shopping, airport architecture has evolved rapidly to meet the demands of a growing travel industry.


Wells, Alexander. Airport Planning and Management. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000. Print. An essential resource for understanding fundamentals, as well as current developments in policy and practice in airport management.Covering planning and managing techniques, new technologies, statistics, trends, and regulatory issues, this is a complete and comprehensive course in airports. Offering expert guidance on airport site selection, design, access, financing, law and regulation, security, capacity, technological advances, and other issues essential to the development and management of airports, “Airport Planning and Management” brings you a true insider’s view of airport decision-making.This book covers: Security Issues; Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Mandates; Post-9/11 Developments; Aviation Improvement and Reform Act; Breakout of FAA Regulations, Advisories, Forms, and More; Airspace and Air Traffic Control Coverage; Financial Planning and Demand Forecasting; Improvements in Planning; Environmental, Noise, and Liability Issues; Technological Improvements, Landside and Airside; Future Trends and Challenges; Information Resources; and, Review questions for text use or self study.

Spaceports Ali, Christopher Sharples, William Sharples, Nina Rappaport, and Leo Stevens. Turbulence. New Haven, Conn: Yale 9 Rahim, School of Architecture, 2011. Print. Turbulence is the third book that features the work of the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professorship, an endowed chairmanship to bring young innovators in architectural design to the Yale School of Architecture. This book includes the advanced studio research of Christopher Sharples of SHoP Architects in “New Formations: Airport City,” and William Sharples of SHoP in “Beyond Experience: Spaceport Earth.” Along with the student work, interviews with the architects about the work of their professional offices and essays framing the Yale studios are combined with insight into the pedagogical approach of these two practitioner-educators.


Ferebee, Scott T. The Commercial Spaceport. , 2011. Print. Undergraduate thesis on space tourism. Includes research as well as a design for a spaceport in Las Vegas Nevada


Selvidge, Paula. From Airport to Spaceport: Designing for an Aerospace Revolution. Tampa, Fla.: University of South Florida, 2010. Internet resource. Masters of Architecture thesis on a spaceport located in Atlanta, Georgia. The 175 page document contains a large, though not particularly deep knowledge base. The later one-third of the document contains the design proposal.


Anderson, Eric. Space Tourist’s Handbook. Philadelphia, Quirk Books, 2005. Print. General information regarding existing launch facilities, current spacecraft technology, things to expect while in space, and the future of space travel. Not intended as an academic read, but excellent for an introduction to the topic.

Graphics 13

Ericson, Eric, and Johan Pihl. Design for Impact. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003. Print. This text is an education in the history of communicating safety procedures for airplane commuters. More than anything this book contributes to a history of graphic vocabulary.

Designing in Japan 14

Shelton, Barrie. Learning from the Japanese City: West Meets East in Urban Design. London: E & FN Spon, 1999. Print. Japanese gardens and buildings have received considerable exposure recently but this timely publication is the first exposition of the Japanese city. It covers the form, character and organization of the buildings and spaces in Japanese cities and particularly the relationships between the buildings, squares and streets. This text contains an excellent history and comprehensive analysis in the variations of western and eastern planning strategies.


Japanese Design. Köln: Daab, 2004. Print. A collection of contemporary Japanese architecture. Most of the designs are primarily interior, and will contribute to an understanding of designing interior spaces in a Japanese Environment.


Shapira, Philip, Ian Masser, and David W. Edgington. Planning for Cities and Regions in Japan. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1994. Print. Though slightly dated, this book brings together a series of contributions which examine the processes of contemporary city development and urban planning in Japan. A central theme of the book is to consider, from a range of perspectives and situations, the role, policies, methods, and effectiveness of planning in guiding city development in Japan and in addressing present and emerging urban issues. Areas of particular concern include inner city development, the urban periphery, the institutional and regulatory context of planning, and planning for urban and regional economic and technological change.

Research Sources // 2011 Tohoku Earthquake Gerard K, and Joseph A. Cassalli. Catastrophe in Japan: The Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. New York: Nova 17 Sutton, Science Publishers, 2011. Print. The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan followed by the nuclear crisis are having a catastrophic negative impact on the economy of Japan but a lesser effect on world trade and financial markets. Japan has lost considerable physical and human capital. Excess of 27,000 persons in Japan have been killed or are missing, and more than 202,000 homes and other buildings have been totally or partially damaged. The negative effects of the earthquake and tsunami are being compounded by the continuing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear reactors and the resulting evacuations, radioactive contamination and shortages of electricity; continuing aftershocks and the extensive damage to infrastructure, homes, manufacturing plants and other buildings.


Normile, Dennis. One Year After the Devastation, Tohoku Designs Its Revewal. Science Magazine, 2012. Print. This article serves as a brief introduction to the effects of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It specifically investigates how the city of Rikuzentakata has dealt with the issues of rebuilding and lays out some established preemptive planning techniques that can alleviate some of the death and detruction caused by these natural disasters.

Future 19


Clabby, Catherine. A Magic Number? American Scientist Magazine, 2010. Print. This article is an excellent resource for understanding the requirements for a future population re-growth scenario. In order to understand the implications of leaving this planet in a permanent fashion, it is important to understand how many people would be required to maintain the human species, maintain human culture or maintain diversity in the human population on a larger scale. It also begs questions on how human institutions such as government or social norms would apply in a new society. Toy, Maggie. “Sci-fi Architecture.” Architectural Design. 69 (1999). Print. Sci-Fi Architecture places the greatest architectural thinkers of our time alongside the most advanced practitioners and experts from technical fields to predict the future of architectural design. Material possibilities and the use of high technology are two of the many dimensions covered in this lively and multifaceted debate, which features the perspectives of Jean Nouvel, Robert Maxwell, Charles Jencks, Jan Kaplicky, and others. The most impressive case study in this volume is the INFO-BOX by Schneider and Schumacher. This quickly erected pavilion utilizes many of the building techniques applicable to a project in a potential disaster area including a high level of modularization for repair and construction as well as lifting off of the ground by as much as 6 meters.

Urban Planning 21

Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1960. Print. Mr. Lynch, supported by studies of Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey City, formulates a new criterion--imageability--and shows its potential value as a guide for the building and rebuilding of cities. The wide scope of this study leads to an original and vital method for the evaluation of city form.


Feuerstein, Günther. Urban Fiction: Strolling Through Ideal Cities from Antiquity to the Present Day. Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges, 2008. Print. Dissatisfied with the world we live in, we have been longing since time immemorial for two opposing environments: the peaceful garden--a carefree paradise--and the New City--a harmonious community. For Gunther Feuerstein, all these cities and towns, though only fictitious, have long since been built, and he strolls through them together with the architects, planners, writers, and philosophers, just as Thomas More, Antonio Filarete, William Morris, and many others once led us through their cities.


Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. Print. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books too is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain “languages,” which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence.

Space S W. A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books, 1998. Print. 24 Hawking, A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends? Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.


Walter, Chip. Space Age. New York: Random House, 1992. Print. A thorough chronological survey of human space flight. An excellent source of information in a general way, covering the technology, politics, and people of the time that made space travel possible. The text includes a large number of high quality images.


Tsiolkovski, K, and Mikhail I. A. Marov. Selected Works. Moscow: Nauka, 2006. Print. The original work, laying down the mathematical framework from which modern rocketry was born. This is an amazing find, with several of the original illustration showing early concepts for reaction machines. A majority of the text is writing describing the principles he used to develop the mathematical calculations that describe basic rocket science.

27 28

Harrison, Albert A. Spacefaring: The Human Dimension. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Print. A though book on eveything one would need to know about the human aspect of spaceflight. It is commonly known that the effects of space on the human body can be quite devistating if not understood. Topics include O’Neill, Gerard K, and Brian O’Leary. Space-based Manufacturing from Nonterrestrial Materials: Technical Papers Derived from the 1976 Summer Study at Nasa Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. New York: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1977. Print.

Tohoku Spaceport  
Tohoku Spaceport  

Design documentation for a commercial/evacuation spaceport in Ishinomaki, Japan.