Ian L. McHarg Center

Space Settlements: Fred Scharmen

Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:00pm
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Lower Gallery, Meyerson Hall, 210 S 34th St. Philadelphia, PA

Join The McHarg Center for this public discussion of sci- & cli-fiction, design, and life beyond Earth with Fred Scharmen, author of "Space Settlements."

In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists—along with architects, urban planners, and artists—to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. This Summer Study was led by Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, whose work on this topic had previously been funded by countercultural icon Stewart Brand’s Point Foundation. Two painters, the artist and architect Rick Guidice and the planetary science illustrator Don Davis, created renderings for the project that would be widely circulated over the next years and decades and even included in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee. A product of its time, this work is nevertheless relevant to contemporary modes of thinking about architecture. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.

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​Fred Scharmen teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning. His work as a designer and researcher focuses on how architects imagine new spaces for speculative future worlds and who is invited into those worlds. Recent projects, with the Working Group on Adaptive Systems, include a mile-and-a-half long scale model of the solar system in downtown Baltimore (in collaboration with nine artists), and a pillow fort for the Baltimore Museum of Art based on Gottfried Semper's Four Elements of Architecture.