Alternate Realities #3 – MARS HOMES

Submission: 31 January 2023
Registration: 15 January 2023
Language: English
Location: Mars
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


After an overwhelming response to the first & second editions, ‘Alternate Realities’ – the world’s most experimental architecture competition – is back with its 3rd edition! This year’s theme is MARS HOMES.

This competition exists in an alternate reality. The year is 2091.

Life on Mars is no longer science fiction but an inevitable reality. Years of indiscriminate exploitation of Earth’s natural resources has pushed climate change to a point where it can no longer be reversed. Mass extinctions have become common. The only way to save the human species is to establish a settlement on Mars. All the space agencies of the world – NASA, ESA, SpaceX, ISRO, etc. – have joined hands to establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars.

However, life on Mars would have its own set of challenges. Its atmosphere is composed primarily of carbon dioxide (about 96%). Ultraviolet and other forms of intense radiation bathe the surface because Mars has a thin atmosphere and no active magnetic field to protect it. The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or as low as about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Mars is only about 0.6 percent of Earth’s.

You have been called in to design homes for the first human residents on The Red Planet. You are the architect of Mars!


The Martian Home:
Design a structure to inhabit 4-6 humans on Mars. This shall form the basis of the first human colony on The Red Planet and shall be replicated to form a larger settlement. (You only need to design one house.)

Designers need to think about the long-term mental and physical challenges that come with living on an alien planet. The Martian Home needs to provide a comfortable space to live in while also protecting its inhabitants from the harsh conditions on the planet – radiation, extreme temperatures, atmospheric challenges, etc. You also need to consider how the inhabitants would transition from being indoors to outdoors and vice-versa.

Since the average distance between Earth and Mars is 140 million miles (225 million km), transporting construction materials from the earth will not be practical. The Martian Homes will have to be built from materials available on Mars.

Construction Techniques:
The harsh environment of Mars will render traditional construction techniques useless. Designers will have to come up with new and innovative ways to construct Martian Homes efficiently.

Optional Services:
Life on Mars would also require oxygen generators, food production units, power generation, etc. These utility services can be shared by multiple houses through central units. You DO NOT need to design these for this competition. However, you are free to experiment with innovative solutions which can help make each house more self-sufficient. (Similar to the self-sufficient homes on Earth.)


Custom Designed Trophies, Certificates of Achievement, Exclusive Interview and Publications to honor the best entries. For more information, visit www.theCharette.org

• Top 3 Winners
• 10 Honorable Mentions
• Top 30 Entries


‘Alternate Realities #3: MARS HOMES’ is open to all creative people – architects, students, planners, graphic designers, and all problem solvers! Design proposals can be developed individually or in teams of maximum 4 participants.

• Advance Entry: 16 Sep – 15 Oct 2022
• Early Entry: 16 Oct – 15 Nov 2022
• Standard Entry: 16 Nov – 15 Dec 2022
• Last-Min Entry: 16 Dec – 15 Jan 2023

• Submission Deadline: 31 January 2023
• Results: March 2023

>>> Go to the competition’s website <<<