Instead of a distant planet or a solar system, a football field-sized structure ranks third in the night sky’s brightness. The tower marks not only a triumph of engineering but also of politics, an extraordinary worldwide endeavour in the cause of research, designed and erected by five space agencies representing 15 countries.

Education

It is the closest humankind has ever gone to building a habitat in outer space, having been constructed over the course of 30 successive flights beginning in 1998. Formed from parts manufactured in Russia and the European Union as well as Japan, Canada and the United States, the International Space Station is an intricate structure of cylinders and passageways made of lightweight materials such as Kevlar, titanium and aluminium that is assembled in space, where it orbits 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Solar panels spread out across the structure, which floats in close orbit, like a deep-sea creature or a tropical insect rather than a regular building. The I.S.S., which was originally intended to serve as a laboratory, manufacturing factory, and service station for off-planet exploration, is now just a research centre. There is still astonishment in the world because of the enterprise’s sheer size and scope.

Contents

Dixon:

Architecture as we know it may be in jeopardy. As a result, I find it disturbing that we can’t come up with any new, ground-breaking designs in the present architectural landscape. They may not be able to survive the test of time, but we can tell whether they’ve impacted the conversation, right? Obviously

Soller:

Does anyone else consider the International Space Station to be architectural in any way?

This is a cooperation that Delavan hadn’t even thought about, but it’s crucial because it’s not a fixed project. Moreover, it’s different from the other projects on the list.

Selldorf:

I have nothing to add to this discussion.

Soller:

I don’t understand what you mean.

Selldorf:

I think there are just a few things that are actually architectural, or I think everything is.

Even if I am opposed to the space race, I believe that the planet should be addressed first from a cooperative point of view. Dixon: It is architecture because people live in it for years. The space station is a powerful symbol of international cooperation, and the fact that it was built on Earth yet designed in space makes it even more remarkable. Because it shows the human imagination, it is more significant than any other edifice.